If you’re a newish coach – and maybe even someone who’s been running their coaching business for a while, I know how easy it is to feel like you’re shouting into the abyss of the internet and getting nothing back. No clients, no sales, no income!
In this post I wanted to share some honest advice I’d give to coaches at the start of their businesses because I know how tricky it can all be!
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When you’re starting your coaching business, that stage after you’ve got your website up and running and you’ve done all the branding etc – basically the most fun bits – is the hardest stage you’ll ever be at.
This is when you perhaps don’t have any paying clients yet, don’t have anyone on your email list apart from your Mum and you have 20 social media followers – basically your Mum and her mates.
This bit is soooo tough. The online business gurus have told us that we should be getting clients straight away and making 6 figures in 4 months if we just post on Instagram often enough. But that’s not true for the vast majority of new coaching businesses.
Something really important to remember is that everyone has a different starting point, access to a different set of resources, social capital and more.
Other professions often take years of study and work before you reach a level of ‘success’. We seem to forget that as coaches and use the ‘Unicorn’ examples as a stick to hit ourselves with when we aren’t reaching incredible heights of ‘success’ right after we start our businesses.
It’s going to take time
The first thing to remember is that it’s going to take time, and some investment to meet your goals for your coaching business – like pretty much every other fucking business in the world!
How much time is a variable and so much depends on external factors that can’t be controlled by you. The bottom line is it’s not a good idea to go into coaching with the idea that it’s going to instantly become some overnight success because it’s likely going to take at a minimum 6 months of consistent work to get even one client.
If you’re reading this and you’re over one year in and things still aren’t moving forward, then something isn’t quite connecting or working – maybe it’s a lack of consistency, a lack of confidence, maybe it’s simply that you don’t have a strategy that’s working for you.
Spontaneous Client Enquiries
Linked to the above point about time, it’s worth remembering that spontaneous client enquiries – i.e. those that just magically appear in your inbox – are going to take time too. It’s way more likely that to get clients in those first few months you’ll need to use much more individualised and high touch approaches to get clients than just posting a few Reels on Instagram.
Social Media isn’t what it used to be
Again, nicely leading on from my above point, social media is hard. It used to be the case that you could build up a following fairly easily and quickly if you were consistent and creating good content. Now it’s really bloody hard. And for a lot of us, the focus on short form video content just feels… like a huge big uncomfortable faff.
The good news is that there’s a lot of other things you can be doing which will work just as well, if not better to get clients and grow your coaching business.
Focus on email list growth
I bang on about this all the time but for good reason. Don’t forget about your email list! People day the money is in the list for a good reason – it basically forms a sustainable foundation for your business. It’s a wonderful way to connect with people and serve them – and yes, sell to them as well.
Look at short and long term growth and goals
If you look at how much time you have available to build your business, 70% of your time and effort would probably be well spent focusing on your immediate goals like getting clients. But don’t forget about the 30% which would be well spent on tasks that help future proof your business – things like blogging and creating long form content which support your business over months and years and help grow your list but don’t always get instantaneous results.
Don’t fall into the procrasti-course or procrasti-branding trap
It can be super easy (and I’m saying this as someone who has 100% done this multiple times!) to do what’s easy and ‘safe’ thinking you’re growing your business when you actually aren’t. Branding and creating courses comes to mind here.
There is a time and a place for creating courses and digital products, but you have to be super honest with yourself – is this really the best way to be investing your time right now? Does it make strategic sense to spend hours and hours creating a course when you don’t have anyone to sell it to? If you aren’t getting clients in your 1:1 coaching package, creating a lower cost course because you worry people don’t want to pay your prices is not going to help you create a sustainable business.
If you want to learn more about how you can get more clients and create an aligned marketing and client attraction strategy then check out my free training:
It’s specifically designed to help those of you in that ‘tricky bit’ after you’ve got your business set up but aren’t getting clients.
If you want to take things further and get lots of support, then check out Wholehearted Business, my 6 month group programme.
I’d love to know if this has been helpful, let me know in the comments!
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