How to create recurring income as a coach

Business, Latest

How to create recurring income as a coach

Business, Latest

Being able to create recurring income as a coach feels like the holy grail, who doesn’t want sustainable income on a regular basis?

When we set up our coaching businesses it can feel like income comes in peaks and troughs, perhaps one month you book 4 clients and the next two months you book none. This can be stressful and frustrating and can make managing your finances difficult.

The good news is, there’s a few different income streams you can set up that help you create income on a recurring basis, as well as different ways to handle your income that can make your business feel more secure and sustainable.

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Understanding your financial needs

Before we look at the actual income streams, it can be really helpful to take a proper look at your financial needs and in what way recurring income is actually going to help you. As we’ll get into in a sec, there are pros and cons with most recurring income models so it’s worth spending some time really understanding what it is you need and why you need it.

Figure out your income baseline

Knowing your minimum monthly viable income figure is really helpful, especially as your business grows. This figure is what you need to cover your expenses and to keep your business afloat. These expenses might be any tech tools you are subscribed to, any outsourcing you do, to a VA for example and whatever you pay yourself as well as income you put away for tax.

Being able to cover this amount via recurring income can make business a lot less stressful!

Cash Flow

I live and die by my cash flow spreadsheet, it tells me everything I need to know about my finances now and for the future.

Sometimes instead of recurring income, or alongside it, we just need a better understanding of our cash flow needs. When we can map out our income and expenses this way, it can show us if our business has natural peaks and troughs and how to manage them.

How you market matters

Another thing that can impact the timing of our income is how we market our services. If we are reliant on bigger launches, this can make those peaks and troughs more pronounced, which isn’t necessarily an issue if our cash flow makes sense. However it can be stressful.
If we mostly market on more of an Evergreen basis, that can create an ongoing flow of income but it can also be harder to get people to move.

Neither of these approaches are right or wrong, they are just worth considering when I describe the options below because how you choose to market each of these can have an impact on how recurring the revenue actually is.

There’s also the ways in which you show up and get visible in your business in general. If you know what works to get you clients, for example running a webinar, then there’s no reason why you can’t systemise that process and repeat it to create more recurring revenue.

Income streams that can offer us recurring income as coaches

Payment plans

This might seem a bit obvious, but offering payment plans on your bigger coaching packages can be seen as a form of recurring income.

I’m a big fan of offering my people payment plan options as a form of financial accessibility, but I also like it from my cash flow point of view as it feels good to me to see payments coming in over time.

Some people add an extra amount when people pay via a payment plan. This can make sense if there’s additional costs to be covered by servicing that plan, for example having to chase up expired cards etc.

Personally I don’t tend to add a lot to my payment plan offers because it aligns with my values to not penalise people for choosing a more financially accessible option.

Retainer services

A great way to create recurring income in your coaching business is to offer some kind of retainer offer.

It’s probably going to depend on your niche / industry if this makes sense, but if there’s a way you can serve and add value to your clients by working with them over a long / undefined period of time then offering a retainer can be a brilliant idea.

For example, once you’ve completed a coaching package with a client, you could offer them a retainer option where they get to have a session with you a month to work on an ongoing goal. The only thing you want to watch out for on this is that your clients don’t become reliant on you, I feel like for us as coaches, we want to help our clients achieve something and then move on, so the retainer option is something to feel out and see how it could work in a positive way for your people.

Group programmes with payment plans

Group programmes can help you create ongoing income. Most traditional group programmes are a few weeks long, but you can offer payment plans that cover a couple of months as a form of financial accessibility, like you may do with your coaching package.

You also want to consider how you market an offer like this, as it can add to those income peaks and troughs if you’re using a launch model.

Group programme / membership / retainer hybrid

I’ve added this hybrid container of support as this is what I offer in my Wholehearted Business Programme!

I market this programme on an evergreen basis so people can join whenever they feel ready. They join for an initial 6 months and can pay in full or in 6 monthly instalments. Then they have the option to stay in the programme on a recurring basis with a discount on the initial investment so it works kind of like a membership or a retainer.

It works super well for my clients as a unique container of support to grow their coaching businesses, and it works well for me in terms of delivery and a form of recurring income. My goal is to cover all of my monthly expenses with this programme.

Membership

A membership really is the quintessential recurring income stream option! It’s ongoing income every month, but it does come with some potential downsides.

Depending on how your membership is priced, you may need to have a lot of members to make it profitable. Memberships can also require a lot of work to create resources on an ongoing basis and to work on member retention.

However memberships can be open on an evergreen basis as well as being marketed with a launch model so they do have the ability to be quite flexible.

I feel like a membership could be a good option to explore if you have a reasonably sized audience / community, or you’re able to charge a higher ticket price and if you have a focused enough topic you’re happy to show up with on a consistent basis.

Online courses and programmes

There’s a couple of ways that online courses and programmes can create some recurring income for your business. Primarily you’d be wanting to be marketing these on a consistent evergreen basis using a proven funnel that works to get sales.

Maybe your leads are coming from paid ads or another method that you know is reliable. You can also build in payment plans too.

The downside of this method is that for most programmes and courses, unless they’re priced fairly high, you’re going to need a lot of volume of leads to make this a reliable form of recurring income.

Digital products

Similar to online courses and programmes, you can create and sell digital products in the same way, but also with the same issues in terms of price and volume!

Affiliate marketing

Finally, consider affiliate marketing! There’s a tonne of things you can be an affiliate for, where you promote someone else’s product or service to your people and in return receive an affiliate commission if they choose to buy.

Depending on the product or service, you can gain a one off affiliate commission or recurring commission.

Next steps

We’ve just looked at a number of different income streams that have the potential to create recurring income. However, it’s important to also consider what your financial goals are and how you show up in your marketing when it comes to gaining income on a more consistent recurring basis than the peaks and troughs many of us are familiar with.

Like I said, there’s nothing inherently wrong with your income coming in chunks as long as your cash flow is supported.

It’s all about figuring out what works for your business and for you when it comes to delivery and how you most want to show up.

If you’d love to chat to someone about what all of this could look like in your business why not book a Clarity Call with me? I’d love to help you find a path forward where you can make recurring income in your coaching business on a consistent basis.

Let me know which form of recurring income you’d try out in the comments below!

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