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  • Writer's pictureMarley Rose Harris

How to Start an Online Coaching Business in 2023

Updated: Sep 19, 2023



If you found your way here, I'm going to assume that you’re a passion-driven, freedom-seeking, soul-purpose-connected person and I want to congratulate you for researching ways to build the life you know you’re meant for.


Starting an online coaching business paves the way for you to support others with your passion while living a life of freedom. But while it may be one of your most rewarding accomplishments, getting an online coaching business started can be one of your biggest challenges. So to get started, let’s break that challenge down and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset as we uncover why you should consider an online coaching business model and, most importantly, how to start an online coaching business in 2023.


Here's what we're going to cover:



Why You Should Consider an Online Coaching Business


It’s Scalable


Coaching online offers so many more options than in-person coaching when it comes to scaling your business and earning passive income. It gives you the flexibility to offer group coaching classes, one-on-one coaching, subscription programs, and evergreen courses. When I started offering spiritual business coaching, I started to realize just how scalable this business model truly is.


Once you’ve identified your purpose and connected with your audience, the ways of connecting with them online are endless!


It’s a Perfect Model To Generate Passive Income


Evergreen courses allow you to develop a program once and have your audience able to access it anytime, anywhere. This means the work you did developing a course three years ago can continue to bring you income today and indefinitely into the future.


The key to successful evergreen content is to cultivate an audience that connects with your passion and create content for them that makes an impact and helps them solve their problems. Once you have the right offer for the right people, income will follow.


You Can Run Your Business From ANYWHERE


Online coaching means you can coach from anywhere with an internet connection. Disconnecting yourself from a location allows you to live a life of freedom. Travel when and where you want, work from the places that bring you comfort and fulfillment, and build your schedule around your life, not the other way around.


Learning to start an online business lets you live a life on your terms with the freedom to go where your soul takes you. Online businesses are one of the best freedom business models because they can be more easily built to provide financial, location and time freedom.


Coaching Is a Billion-Dollar (and growing!) Industry


More and more people are looking to take charge of their lives and develop the skills and knowledge that will support them in being their best selves. And to do that, they need a mentor, a guide, a coach.


In the US, the life coaching market is currently worth $1.4 billion and is expected to grow by 2.5% in 2023 and the business coaching industry is currently worth over $15 billion.


The Model Has Relatively Low Overhead & Start Up Costs

All you need to get started is a laptop and an internet connection. While there are a lot of different online programs available to help you build and streamline your online coaching business, you don’t need them to get started.


Don’t get distracted by all the things you might need or the programs you think you should buy. If you’re just starting, break out a notepad or a Google Doc and focus on identifying your “why”, clarifying your audience, and determining your offers. Work with what you have right now.

It Doesn’t Require a Huge Audience To Make Great Money

It’s not the size of your audience you need to focus on, it’s how aligned they are with what you do. It only takes 100 people committed enough to spend $1000 on your program to have a 6-figure business.


When you’re clear on what you offer and who you serve and are running a business you’re passionate about, the right people will find you.


How To Start an Online Coaching Business Online In 9 Steps


If you’re ready to make the move from “why should I?” to “how do I!”, read on for my 9-step checklist for building your online coaching business!


Identifying Your “Why”


Why you want to embark on the online coaching journey is important to identify before you get too far down the road. Starting a business is challenging and takes grit and determination. When you truly know why you're doing what you’re doing, it makes the struggles worthwhile and keeps you motivated to carry on.


After supporting hundreds of new business owners in building their businesses, I’ve found the key to success is building a business based on pure passion. Because when you love what you do, the work feels 100% worth it.


Work On Your Mindset


I believe that successful entrepreneurship is 80% mindset and 20% strategy. So with quick math, that means that 80% of the effort you put in should be focused on you. Your personal development, your limiting beliefs, your subconscious imposter syndrome.


Working on your entrepreneurial mindset and your money mindset are key to embracing everything that your business can bring you. If you’re interested in learning more about mindset and the role it plays in building your online coaching business, check out my podcast. I talk a TON about mindset so you can get a deep understanding of why this is so important to your success.


Research and Development


Now that you know your “why” and have adopted an entrepreneurial mindset, you need to lay the foundation for a successful business. Strong business plans are data-driven, and they build the framework for how you’ll move forward with your offers and services. Some areas that require R&D are:


Competitor Analysis


Who else is in your space? Who’s doing what you do? Learning how other similar businesses are operating can provide you with insights into how you want to position yourself in the market. How can you stand out? What things would you like to mimic? What are their offers? Their price points? Their audience? All of this is invaluable when it comes to knowing what sets you apart and makes your business unique.


Naming Your Business


Is there a name that you connect with? One that embodies your passion and purpose? Or are you thinking about using your own name and running it under a personal brand? Think about how different names will impart different vibes into your business and make sure it fits with your overall brand.


Clarify Your Audience


The key to successful marketing is to talk to one person. You can’t win them all, so focus on speaking to the ones you want to attract. The more specific you get about your target audience, the better. What problems are they facing? What do they need from you? How will they know you can help them?


Drill Down Your Niche


It may seem like choosing a narrow niche means you’re leaving money on the table, but the opposite is true. Like I said before, you can’t win them all. So, choose an area you want to serve and communicate to them that you’re an expert at the thing they need. If someone is looking for help with vegan, gluten-free cooking, they want a vegan, gluten-free cook, not just any chef. So pick your lane and find your people. They’re waiting for you!


Determine Your Offer & Pricing


Okay, you figured out who you serve, now, you need to know what they need. Because you took the time to identify your audience and narrow down your niche, this should be a little bit easier. You need to dig into what your customers truly need and how what you offer will help them.


Once you’ve identified your offer, you’ll need to make sure you’re pricing with scalability in mind. You didn’t leave your 9-5 to just work at your own business 8-8. If you’re looking for support on how to price your offers and build financial freedom into your business, check out Freedom Club. In there, I offer lots of advice on making more money with fewer hours.


Develop Your Brand & Website


Your brand is another way you connect with your audience. Your branding gives clients a sense of who you are and what it will be like to work with you. If your brand is light and airy with feminine colors, you’ll set different expectations than if your brand is sleek and modern with deep, rich colors. Make sure your brand reflects who you are and who you work with so everyone is on the same page.


A big piece of branding is your website. This is your online home where clients come to meet you. It should feel like you and make your target audience feel welcome.


Once you have your branding and website defined, you can use that to build a brand and tone guide so that everything you produce moving forward stays connected and aligned. Building a brand guide early makes it easier to introduce new features in the future but keep a unified image.


Create Your Marketing Mix


Marketing your business and offer can feel a little overwhelming, I get it. There are so many platforms to use and so many rules you're supposed to follow. It can be impossible to know where to start. Well, first, start with a deep breath.


Now, since you know who your target audience is, the first thing to ask yourself is “where do they hang out?” Go to the places your audience will be. With our vegan, gluten-free chef, they can look at Facebook groups for vegan and gluten-free eating, they can use vegan and gluten-free hashtags on Instagram, they can make youtube videos or tiktoks about how to cook vegan, gluten-free. Go where your audience is and use keywords and hashtags to make sure they know how to find you.


Learn To Sell Organically


You have your offer, you know your audience, you built your brand. So what’s left? SELL!


Don’t get bogged down by the term “sales”. You’re not selling used cars. You’re selling something you love, something you’re passionate about, something that you designed to help people. When you truly believe in what you do, selling isn’t a sleazy tactic, it’s the act of providing value to the people who need it.


Set Up Your Business Tech


As your business begins to grow and scale, you may find yourself wanting to get some tasks off your plate. There are SO MANY online platforms to aid you in automating tasks it can be overwhelming to know where to start.


If you’re interested in learning about some of my favourites, have a look at my blog post here, with a list of the platforms I use in my own business.


Launch Your Online Coaching Business


Great job, angel! You did it! If you’ve checked all of these things off, you’re well on your way to living a life of business with your coaching business. All that’s left is to get it out into the world for the benefit of all. So get out there, share it widely!


Now that you’re officially a business owner, it’s important to keep in mind your goals and your “why”. Don’t let your business get away from you and start taking over your life. You built this to create a life of freedom, not be a slave to your laptop.


The best way to keep your business growing while maintaining your freedom is to focus on scalability and building scalable models into your new business.


Learning To Scale Your Online Coaching Business


Choose A Scalable Business Model


What makes a business “scalable”? The Cole's Notes is that a business is scalable when it can increase its sales and earnings without needing to increase resources to do it. Or at least, by only increasing resources by a small amount.


For example, say your business has reached a point where you need to hire someone to manage your social media. But, having that person only frees up enough time in your schedule for you to take on one more client a month. If that new client brings in the same amount of money that your new staff costs, you haven’t moved ahead. Your revenue may have increased but your expenses increased the same amount with it.


So, how do we avoid this problem and build a truly scalable business? You need to choose a model that allows for scalability.

Courses


As I mentioned above, courses are a great way to increase your revenue without adding more work to your plate. By creating a quality, evergreen course, new clients can sign up whenever they like and get access to your support without additional resources from you.


Memberships


Adding a membership service to your offerings is a great way to scale your business. With a membership, an unlimited number of people can join your program without an increase in work from you or a reduction in quality for them. In fact, more people can make a membership better by building community and allowing members to learn and grow from each other.


Digital Products


A digital product only needs to be created once but can be sold an endless amount of times. Selling more of your digital products doesn’t take any increased resources from you.


Plan Your Launch Strategy


Now that you’ve chosen your scalable offer, you need to introduce it to the world. Marketing your offer in a way that connects with your audience is a really important step. You want your audience to feel they can’t live without what you offer and that it is value-aligned with them and their needs.


My favourite way to launch an offer is with an irresistible funnel. There’s a lot that goes into a good sales funnel but the basic principles are:

  • You create a quality freebie (lead magnet) that requires an email address to download

  • Now that you have an email list from the lead magnet, you can create an email campaign that pumps up your course launch.

  • Offer a free masterclass webinar where you give away 10% of your course content for free to highlight its value and introduce how amazing the full course is.

  • After the webinar, send the participants the details on how to sign up for your offer. This often includes a discount code for email subscribers.

Find and Invest In Your Bottlenecks


Bottlenecks refer to the places in your business where progress slows down because they require extra time and attention. Finding places where the momentum halts shows you where it’s beneficial to invest in products or services.


A bottleneck might be that you’re bogged down with responding to leads and scheduling discovery calls. To overcome this bottleneck, you can look into automation programs that can auto-respond to new lead emails and send them your calendar to book a call.

Expand Your Lead Generation


Now that your offer is thriving and you’ve ironed all the wrinkles out of your processes, we can begin the cycle all over again. When I said a scalable business model lets you increase revenue with no increased resources, I Meant. Every. Word. So to keep turning up the revenue, you can go back to the marketing drawing board and find new ways to attract like-minded people to your services.


Some strategies that I love for increasing reach are partnering with value-aligned businesses, speaking at events or on podcasts, or investing in advertising.


How I Generated Multiple Six Figures As an Online Coach In 2022


You might be thinking - “this sounds great but who are you to teach me how to start an online coaching business?”. Well, I was once in your shoes! I started my first business, Rose Designs, as a side hustle while finishing up post-secondary in marketing. I quickly grew this business to multiple six figures and a team of 5, with complete location-freedom. But what I didn’t have was time freedom. I was constantly working and feeling completely burnt out. In early 2022, I decided to dissolve Rose Designs and go all in on my online coaching business.


Despite everyone telling me I was crazy, it turned out to be the best decision of my life. And this is why I am so passionate about supporting other entrepreneurs to start their own online coaching business. I’ve seen firsthand the difference this business model makes for entrepreneurs, and I’ve been able to scale my own coaching business way beyond what I originally thought was even possible, and far beyond what I achieved with my first business with a much lower overhead. And now, I’m here to help you do the same. Time, location & financial freedom are completely possible for you, and I’m here to teach you how.


Ready To Get Started?


So, are you ready to learn how to start an online coaching business in 2023? Taking this leap will be the best thing you can do for yourself. Build a life you’ll love full of freedom, time, and money. All it takes is connecting with yourself and your purpose to take the plunge.


And if you’re looking for a little extra support along the way, look no further than my signature Freedom Club. With all the tools and training you need to start and run your online business, you’ll be living a life of passion and purpose before you know it. This business accelerator course will take you through all the nitty-gritty details of getting started so you don’t have to go it alone. So take the jump! I can't wait to meet you!


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