Entrepreneur Mindset

4 Hard Truths About Building A Coaching Business

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Yes…you've decided that coaching is your calling!

You found the WIN-WIN in building a business you love AND serving others, too.  GREAT!!

You can set your own hours, work anywhere around the world (with virtually anyone around the world, too.).

So far, SO GOOD!

I want that for you, too. In fact, I contend that all of us can help each other in some way, and building a coaching business is truly a WIN-WIN

But before you dive in, you've got to wrap your head around the BUILDING A COACHING BUSINESS part.

A market research report by IBISWorld said that at the end of 2014, coaching was a $1 billion industry in the USA alone.  There's no doubt it's a booming industry and coaches are in demand, yet why are so many coaches struggling to make a profitable living doing what they love?

By coaching the coaches on building a business I've seen common themes arise and it's high time to demystify the culture around building a coaching business.  Are you ready to get the truths behind building a coaching business?

I hope so…because when you can get some of these basic principles surrounding the coaching industry you stand a VERY GOOD chance at success.  I believe that!

1. Lack of Clients Or Lack of Business Savvy?

You've been giving away your coaching to friends and family, and now that precedent has been set.  It's time to go outside of that circle and find the clients who'll benefit from your coaching and earn a living doing it.  At $300 to $500 a month per client, how many clients will you need to make a comfortable living?  Is it 5, 6, or 10 clients a month?  You do the math…

This is the first obstacle…and usually, the one that deflates your dream and sends you back to the employment line.  At first "only 5 clients a month" sounds appealing but quickly turns into torture finding them.  Let's not forget that when you do find a client, please take a moment to account for the times they may cancel on you and/or eventually drop off over time.

DON'T make this obstacle the reason you quit!!  This is why you have to wrap your head around BUILDING A BUSINESS.

Being a great coach is brilliant (and can positively change lives) and it may even bring you referrals, but are you willing to gamble your business on that, alone?  Will this be enough for you to survive as a coach?

Being a great coach must also align with being a great business owner and doing what is required to build a valuable business so that you can continue to provide value to others.  Do you get this?  I hope you do…

Think of it this way, for you to enjoy your life, you must include things like nutrients, oxygen, and water daily to keep it thriving and keep your body's environment healthy and strong so that you can enjoy your life, right?

Your business requires the same.

Marketing doesn't have to be a dirty word.  Here's some more truth serum….without marketing your business, you'll likely struggle and fail and give up, BUT…It doesn't have to be this way!!

There is a way to market that will never feel sleazy and will literally pull clients toward you, it's called "pull marketing"  or "education marketing" or "relationship marketing."  Sounds good, yes?  That's because it IS good. It's amazing actually and YOU CAN DO THIS.  (You're welcome).

When you get FULLY behind education and relationship building then you're FULLY engaged and aligned with what you are about and you'll naturally provide that value.  That's attractive and NEVER sleazy.

Social media supports this kind of marketing with excellence and ease! And if you're not taking advantage of it, you're missing out BIG TIME, especially if you're a coach.

2. Understanding Social Media And Your Market

"The acceleration of development in communicaton technologies has forced human beings to connect in totally new and different ways.  We're being called to higher standards of authenticity, integrity, and transparency, and we are compelled to truly care about the world and all the people in it." ~Mari Smith

What sets you apart?  What makes your message unique?  What is it EXACTLY that you want your prospective clients to know about you and your coaching?

More important, how are you letting prospects know about you and your work?  How are they able to connect with you (and I don't mean by appointments).  I mean, how can they "get what you're about" and feel good about YOU before making that appointment with you?

Because of social media, rarely is anyone diving into and investing blindly into anything and anyone without a quick check on Facebook or Google (or another digital platform).  That being said, have you ever considered how you're showing up for them, first?

Social media isn't just about being social…it's about CONNECTING.  Plainly stated, for your marketing to work on social media, you're going to have to move past being "exposed" on social media and connect the way this digital age is giving us the opportunity to do so (more on that later).

Yes…it's different, and it even feels impersonal, at first.  But the trending statistics and results tell us a very different story and coaches MUST pay attention before strategizing marketing efforts on social media.

Where Are Your Prospective Clients?


  • With over 1.15 billion daily active users, Facebook is the leader in social media and networking
  • 84% are between the ages of 30 – 49 located mostly in urban areas (12% in the USA)
  • 77% of adults using Facebook have an income over $75K+
  • College graduates lead the education demographics for Facebook at 79%
  • 79% of internet users login into Facebook daily and for this reason alone, makes Facebook the leader for most businesses using Facebook to reach their audience


  • Originally for younger audiences, statistics from PEW report older generations using this app. with 100 million daily users
  • 59% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-29 and 33% between 30 -49 years of age
  • 33% have a college degree and 37% with an income over $75K+


  • A fast-paced social network with 36% of its users between the ages of 18 -29
  • Users are nearly equal between men and women.
  • 29% are college graduates with 30% with an income over $75K+


  • Known as the largest social network for professionals with 467 million registered users and 133 million of them from the U.S.
  • 34% of users are between 18 – 29 years of age and 33% between 30 – 49 years of age.
  • 50% are college graduates and 45% with an income over $75K+


  • Pinterest is a growing source for businesses and brands, but Pinterest is known for DIYers with content that can relate more to lower income users.  Keep in mind, however, recent data has given us reason to keep an eye on its growing user base with disposable income.
  • 36% of users are between the ages of 18 – 29 and 34% between the ages of 30 -49 (and 45% of users are women).
  • 34% are college graduates and 35% with an income of $75K+

Thus far, Facebook has remained consistent and where most of the audience resides for those in the coaching industry.  It's where Your Digital Formula focuses its energy and shares the strategies using Facebook to grow and connect with your prospective clients.

Facebook has been updating continuously as the demand for more by way of content and video has also dramatically increased.

Facebook LIVE stream alone has increased in popularity by 330% since its inception.  In fact, it's been such an important aspect of Facebook that they paid over $50 million to celebrities and other influencers to use it making Facebook LIVE a new way to deliver diverse content.

Facebook LIVE has already proven to be a successful tool to digitally market to your audience, engage your audience and leverage a sizeable tribe doing so.  Keep in mind that people on Facebook spend 3X longer watching video which is LIVE compared to video which is no longer LIVE.

The WIN-WIN For Your Business And Your Audience

According to a study by the International Coaching Federation and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, roughly 39% of coaches in North American are 55 or older.

The coaching industry is overflowing with coaches who value growth and personal development and being of service to others. There's nothing like real life experience and the wisdom to be gained from it.  Even better, is to share what you've learned over the years with others. Coaching gives retirees the opportunity to give back in the same field where they themselves excelled. Coaches who themselves have overcome challenges are now rising to the occasion and opportunity to help heal others, too (no matter the age).

BRAVO (and more please). This is the ripple effect of goodness and healing that can span the globe with the use of a very effective tool—social media.

3. Lacking Essential Systems To Run and Grow A Coaching Business

Helping people with coaching is great, but you'll need to invest the time and the energy and the money in the systems necessary to run a business that is essentially almost virtually online.

Investing gets your business going and growing. To be sure, not everything requires a monetary investment…but
keep in mind, that even if you choose NOT to show up and market yourself on social media, other coaches are and they are finding their niche, sharing their story, and sharing their vision, attracting the audience and clients to them.  The

The market place doesn't have to be a place to compete, nor a place to copy what others are doing.  Your Digital Formula has been supporting the coaches on social media for several years now and they've grown their audience and their business by simply choosing to show up.

Social media and the marketplace doesn't have to be a place to compete.  Far from it.  But…it does keep you current and ahead of the curve.  Your Digital Formula not only shows you how this can be done, it keeps you ahead of the curve and the growing tribe supports you (and sometimes even carries you) when you hit a bump on the road.  You don't have to go at this alone.  Invest in the resources that support you for the long term of your business.


Your Digital Formula members (aka Bravehearts), Terry Cole, Psychotherapist and founder of the Real Love Revolution and her business partner David Vox, producer of over 150 coaching programs were featured on Amy Porterfield's podcast, "How To Turn A Pre-Launch Strategy Into A Wildly Profitable Online Launch"

They're 6 figure launch was successful and one of the very basic principles was to garner and grow an audience and they specifically used Facebook and the Your Digital Formula program to help them do it using some of the very basic strategies discussed in this blog.

IMPORTANT:  Investing and marketing isn't just about growing a business and acquiring clients, but also KEEPING your clients.

Pay attention to the full experience your clients are having.  If your systems aren't in place so that they truly benefit what you have to offer, you'll lose them (and quickly).  Even after a sale, your marketing efforts continue following the client every step of the way.  Stay connected, service-oriented, knowledgeable, and professional at every level of your business.

How will you deliver your product, service or program?
How will you manage your clients and your prospects?
How will you stay connected above and beyond social media?
What systems, routines, and follow up do you have in place?

Is it worth investing in the systems?  YOU BET!

4. As You Help Develop Your Clients, So Must You Develop Yourself

To be sure, my overall experience with coaches is that they find value and reap the benefits of developing their coaching skill sets.  This is a true testament and magic about coaches as you value your trade and realize the importance of passing on the value of your education to the clients you serve.

However, you can not provide the value if your business is falling flat.  A great coach does not necessarily equate with having a great business.

Where are your weaknesses when it comes to your business?  How are you developing those skills?  Are you partnering with the right people, tribes, and programs aligned with what you want to do?  If not, why not?

Along with learning how to utilize social media and the digital world to grow your business, so is acquiring the characteristics that will support your business development and growth.

Remember the common traits of successful entrepreneurs and what it means for your coaching business:

  1. Self Discipline:  What happens after the enthusiasm of starting a coaching business wears off?  What happens when the realities of starting a business set in?  Prospecting isn't fun but a necessary component to building a business. You must develop the discipline to consistently do the things you must do even when you don't want to do them.
  2. Integrity:  People know when you're not showing up online authentically.  Don't portray something you're not and don't portray and guarantee things you can not 100% back up.  Let your online persona match who you are in person. Be in good standing with your audience and build your know—like—trust factor
  3. Persistence:  It's rare that people will purchase anything from you after the first contact.  Follow up and show up with care.  Stay visible and be persistent with it.  According to Brian Tracy, sometimes becoming successful is the result of just being persistence for longer than anybody else.
  4. Clear Direction:  Short term goals and profit are good, but where is your business going for the long-term?  What is your vision?  What do you want to achieve?  Do you have a plan? Having a clear direction will help you plan and strategize effectively and efficiently for the long-term life of your business.
  5. Action Oriented: This is not only about taking action but also being adaptable and flexible.  Because the internet and social media platforms are continuously changing, it is a MUST to learn to adapt and adjust and be ready to make the move and change what is necessary to keep going. This may include more learning, more testing, or even starting all over again.

When you get out of your own way and develop yourself for the sake of your business, you can positively continue to grow a successful coaching business and help more people across the globe.

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.