A couple of years ago I started working on putting something together to help my clients who are growing their coaching businesses so they could see a pathway for their growth. I created a visual to illustrate the ideas I had and thus The Wholehearted Business Roadmap was born! Scroll down to see it.
You don’t have to follow this in a super linear way, but I thought it might be helpful to see something visual that shows you how growing a coaching business could look, and the stages for making that work.
In this post I’m going to breakdown each stage in more detail and walk you through it all!
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The first thing on the Roadmap is your Business Foundations.
Firstly we want to get super crystal clear on what our version of success looks like, particularly when it comes to how you want your business to show up for you. Now obviously like everything in life and business, it can change and evolve as you grow and that’s fine.
However, having something clear as you start your business can be really useful because it’s very easy to be swept off course by what other people are doing or by what society tells us success is, and ultimately that can leave you feeling quite empty because what you’re achieving might not be that aligned.
So I think having a really solid and if possible, quite detailed idea of what that looks like can be really useful. It’s something that you come back to again and again.
Another part of the business foundations stage is getting clear on your niche and your message. So who is it that you serve, why you serve them, why you’re the best person to solve their problems or help them achieve their aspirations.
Where most of my people get stuck is that they don’t feel like their niche is clear or narrow enough and that lack of clarity can make them not put themselves out there fully or becomes a reason to procrastinate. But then for some of us trying to narrow our niche just leads to us feeling boxed in and that doesn’t work either.
But the good news is you can have a thriving business, even if you’re multi passionate and you have lots of ideas. Niche and message often evolve over time and as you coach so it’s just about having a good sense of where you want to get started and then moving ahead with everything else. I cover a lot of this process in my programme The Unboxed Guide and Niche and Message.
Another element of Business Foundations is creating your offer. Most coaches will want to start with at the very least, a 1:1 coaching package. At this stage you’ll want to structure that offer and look at things like pricing and features as well as getting clear on the problems it solves and aspirations it helps people achieve.
Finally, a big part of Business Foundations is to refine your brand and pull your visual brand together. Your brand is also things like values, message, tone of voice as well as visuals so getting a sense of these things together is really helpful at this initial stage.
Something to consider here is how are you bringing ‘you’ into your brand? It’s really important as a coach to have people connect with you because it’s you they’ll be working with!
These are your Business Foundations and thinking through these elements will get you set up in good stead to move forwards!
Creating an income baseline
The next stage of The Wholehearted Business Roadmap is to create some kind of income baseline.
Depending on your goals and your version of success, getting your business to the point of being viable and perhaps also achieving a goal that’s dependent on income level such as being able to quit a 9-5 is going to be key.
So what I encourage people to do is to figure out what income they need to generate to make the business viable and how do we meet that as quickly as possible with as much alignment as we can too.
For most coaches that’s going to be filling their 1:1 coaching slots in their main package.
The quickest way to do this can often be about putting some higher touch strategies in place, because if we are doing a lot of marketing which is just posting stuff on Instagram without any kind of call to action it’s not necessarily going to get us there quickly enough.
Putting some high touch strategies in place can be really useful around getting those clients in, and there’s different ways we can approach that.
Alongside this, if you have time, this stage can be good to look at adding in some additional offers, and what I’d usually suggest is a power hour style offer and a small digital product. This post on the three key offers you need in your coaching business explains more about why having these offers works.
That this stage it can also be about getting our confidence up, especially if we’re new and the best way to do this is to simply get coaching!
Usually I wouldn’t advise people to coach for free or at a heavily discounted rate but if you’re really struggling with confidence at this stage just working with some clients and getting them results can really help give you a confidence boost and that will make a massive difference when it comes to selling your offer at it’s full price.
Grow your community
The next step in the roadmap is around growing your community.
This is really about marketing yourself and growing an email list based community because this is where I really see businesses becoming sustainable in the long term.
For some coaches you’ll be able to do this alongside the last stage of getting your income baseline covered but it may depend on time you have available as well.
The kinds of marketing that work well here is any organic content based marketing such as blogging, podcasting, creating video content etc which you use to direct people towards some kind of freebie that gets them on your email list.
Once someone has joined your list you’re able to build a relationship with them and sell to them more effectively than just having followers on social media.
When it comes to creating that content, I also think an element of this needs to look at creating content that is going to help people find you, so optimising your content for search engines whether that’s Google, Pinterest or YouTube.
As I’ve said earlier, this kind of marketing can sometimes take longer to transfer into paying clients which is why it’s ‘slower’ but it’s still super valuable especially in the long term. The time you spend on creating really good quality content is worth it because it can help you grow your business for years to come!
I have blog posts I wrote in 2018 like this one on How to run an event or retreat that still get thousands of views a month and bring many people on to my list.
I should also add here that you don’t necessarily have to have a massive community to have a successful business, you simply need a decent number of the right people – numbers aren’t everything!
Creating new offers
At this stage, when you’re getting clients coming to you fairly easily and you’ve built up a bit of a community it can be a good time to look at diversifying your income streams and adding in new offers which can make your business more profitable and free up more of your time.
Of course you can bring in new offers much sooner, there’s no right or wrong way to do it, but I do think at this stage it’s easier to make them work.
Usually these new offers are beginning to work 1:many instead of just 1:1 so group programmes, memberships, courses and programmes, digital products etc.
There’s no rule that says you have to do this, maybe you just enjoy working with people 1:1, and if you the way you’d ‘grow’ would be through increasing your prices and that can be just fine.
But for those of us who desire more impact, money and time freedom this is where we get to start being creative and seeing amazing results!
This is also the stage to seriously look at outsourcing or hiring team members if you haven’t already so you can maximise your time in your business to the most important tasks.
The final stage is really about growing big and maximising your impact. Again, not everyone will want to grow to this stage, but here it can look like growing your community via paid ads like Facebook, Instagram or Google ads.
It’s not that you shouldn’t try ads sooner, it’s that I wouldn’t advise sinking a lot of money into ads until you’ve really tested what you do and know you have a strategy that works.
This stage might also look like getting PR for your best and using that to support your growth too.
In terms of maximising recurring revenue it might be putting evergreen funnels in place to sell digital products on autopilot or having bigger launches. Or creating new offers altogether.
This can be the stage of really achieving your version of success and not just the ‘safe’ version, the big scary exciting dream version!
Along the bottom of the roadmap is mindset because at every single stage of business there’s going to be mindset stuff that gets triggered and that needs to be worked through.
Stuff is going to come up!. We’re going to wonder if we’re good enough. We’re going to get imposter syndrome. So much stuff is going to come up at every stage of business and I think being aware that the mindset thread runs through everything is really important.
Making it work for you
The Wholehearted Business Roadmap is just a suggestion of a pathway you can take to grow a coaching business but you don’t have to follow that in a super linear way. Sometimes you move forward but then need to go back and revisit something you’ve already done (ahem, niche and message!)
We’re all human and all different and we’ll all have different versions of success, this is just to illustrate how you could do it and I hope it inspires you and motivates you!
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If The Wholehearted Business Roadmap looks helpful to you, this is what we use inside my programme to help orientate us and figure out what our next step might look like.
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