In the world of online side hustles, there’s a lot of get-rich-quick schemes out there.
There’s also plenty of fake ‘gurus’ who make their money by promising other people they can deliver some dream life for them or recipe to riches that, in all honesty, is always too good to be true.
Considering this landscape, I’m incredibly excited for this awesome guest post from Jake Lang, the founded of The Entrepreneur Ride Along.
If you want a glimpse into what it takes to become a legit online coach and to diversify your income with this business model, this is absolutely the post for you.
A massive thank you to Jake for his insights. Take it away!
Article by Jake Lang – Founder of The Entrepreneur Ride Along
If you’re an expert in something, you should considering becoming an online coach.
It’s an incredibly lucrative way to make money online and to diversify your income streams as an entrpreneur.
It’s also completely free to become a coach.
To get started, all you really need is your own expertise, the willingness to help others, and a cell phone. Simply use Stripe to collect payments and use Zoom to conduct video conferences, that’s it.
In this post, I’m going to tell you why you should be an online coach. I’ll also show you exactly how to make money coaching (it’s easier than you think) and the steps I took to actually create my own coaching business.
What is Coaching?
First, I’ll quickly explain the world of online coaching.
Coaching is the process of helping a person reach a goal or accomplish a task, either through one-on-one coaching or in a group coaching setting.
It can really be any goal. A business sales goal, a personal life goal, or a personal development goal.
It doesn’t matter. You can be a coach for anything. If you have accomplished something and if you’re an expert on a particular topic, you can be a coach if there’s a demand to learn that same skill.
Now, the coaching niche is very broad, and there’s a lot you can do here.
For example, I’m a coach that helps people start their own businesses.
But, you don’t have to be a business coach. For example, my friend Kris Pavone is a life coach, and he helps people set goals and live a better life.
You name a subject, and you can probably be a coach in that niche.
Here are a couple of examples of coaches that I’ve personally seen and hired:
- Corporate coach.
- Fitness coach.
- Diet coach.
- Life coach.
- Career coach.
I always recommend coaching as a viable revenue stream for entrepreneurs.
Whether this is your main source of revenue, or one of the many revenue streams generating income for your business, you should offer coaching.
Below, I’m going to give you three reasons why you should be an online coach.
Would you rather sell one coaching package for $2,000 or hustle to sell 200 copies of your $10 eBook?
For the same result, I’d rather work hard to sell one $2,000 coaching package.
Getting sales is hard, so maximize your effort by selling a high-value product or service.
Plus, you don’t need to spend months writing a book, driving traffic, and hustling for sales. You just need to go out and find one client that’s a good fit to work with and you’re off to the races.
That’s why I love coaching. Coaching is a premium product; in my opinion, you should charge a minimum of $500 per coaching session.
I charge $1,500 for a package of three 90-minute coaching sessions, with one session per month. And that price is only going to increase as I perfect my craft and book more clients.
Low Startup Cost
In its simplest sense, coaching is just talking to people.
Obviously, you need to be qualified and know how to provide people with real value and advice, but, at it’s core, coaching doesn’t require a lot to get started…your previous years of experience and expertise in a particular subject are the main requirements.
Booking coaching clients is simply the process of going out into the world and getting paid for your advice, help, and value.
In fact, you don’t necessarily need a website. I booked my first coaching client without a website and without any social media channels.
Nobody knew who I was, except for this one guy that I met on Reddit and invited to a free coaching call. By the end of that first call, after all the value I provided, he was desperate to pay me to continue learning.
In the subsequent sections of this post, I’ll show you exactly how to get clients and what my own approach is.
But in a nutshell, it’s simply connecting with individuals that need help, providing free coaching to offer immediate value, and to then upsell with your paid coaching package.
Connections Pay Off
The connections you make from coaching are well worth the investment of your time, even if you don’t book a single client.
For me personally, by going out in the world and helping without expecting anything in return, I’ve been invited onto five different podcasts (including Pat Flynn’s Ask Pat Podcast).
I’ve also had ten guest blogging opportunities, and met over fifty entrepreneurs that I can turn to at any time for help in managing and scaling my businesses.
Coaching builds you an incredibly valuable network that will pay dividends forever.
Your connections and this network that you build will refer you future clients, leads, and tell their friends about the amazing coach they met that was there to help and solve problems.
My Personal Online Coaching Journey
In January 2020 I started my first “full time” coaching business at The Entrepreneur Ride Along where I help entrepreneurs start and scale online businesses.
I say full time in quotes because I’ve been starting online businesses since 2014 and generated over $200,000 in income during that time, using coaching as a supplementary product to help sell my courses and memberships.
The Entrepreneur Ride Along is the first time I’ve started a business with the full intent of being a coach and generating revenue exclusively from coaching.
By mid-January, just a few weeks into coaching, I booked my first paid coaching client.
By March, I launched my first group coaching program at $500 per person and booked the class full with five entrepreneurs paying me $500 each.
Within three months of coaching, I generated $3,000 in income.
I really didn’t have to do anything other than sit down on a Zoom video call and talk about people’s interesting ideas and businesses. Not a bad way to make $3,000!
And that’s not to mention the extra money I’m earning by recommending affiliate products to my coaching clients. With affiliate income included, I’ve generated $3,500 in income from six clients in my first three months as a full-time coach.
Now I’m re-launching my group coaching program, except this time I will be charging $2,000 per person and I already have people interested and asking to pay for my coaching services.
If I can be a coach, generating $3,000+ in the first three months of beginning my coaching practice, you can too. Below I’m going to show you exactly how I booked six clients in the first months of coaching (it’s easier than you think).
For proof of revenue, see screenshots below from Stripe. Please note, one member is paying monthly so it does not show the full $3,000 accumulated from coaching.
How to Get Started – Make Money Coaching
Getting started as a coach isn’t complicated.
All you need to do is start helping people and to play to your strengths by finding a topic where you have expertise and and can provide value.
Did you lose 100lbs on the Keto diet? Great, you can be a Keto coach!
Did you get promoted to upper management faster than anyone in company history? Excellent, you can be a career development coach.
Did you earn your law degree and pass the bar exam? Perfect, now you’re a “bar exam prep” coach.
The opportunities are endless. You can find hundreds of thousands of people online looking for your help in plenty of different niches.
I’m a business coach, so I help people start online businesses. So, I also hang out over at the entrepreneur Reddit community and help people build online businesses. It’s that easy to get started.
To make it even easier, I’m going to share a simple straight forward five-step process to get clients as an online coach.
This is the process that myself and thousands of other coaches use.
I learned this simple process from the book The Prosperous Coach by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin, one of the best books I’ve read dedicated to the process of booking coaching clients.
The process is simple, I’ll summarize it below and walk you through step by step.
Step 1: Connect
First things first. Go out and connect with people. This can be in person, or if you’re an introvert like me, connect with people in online communities like Reddit, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Simply find people asking questions related to your niche and help them.
If you’re a Keto expert, go to Facebook and find a Keto group. Start talking to people and providing value.
Use your expertise and answer every new question that beginners post in the group. Just go out there and help people for free.
Have a real conversation back and forth, ask inquisitive questions, and help lead them to a solution. Be the expert that they are looking for…be the answer to their questions!
If it feels right, and they could be a potential coaching client, shoot them a direct message and ask a question.
Something as simple as “Hey, it’s Jake from the Entrepreneur subreddit. We were going back and forth talking about SEO. Figured I’d shoot you a direct message. So what seems to be the problem, you can’t get enough traffic to your website?”
As simple as that. That’s step one. Just go out there and help people.
Check out the conversation below if you want an example of this first step.
This is a snippet of the direct message that I sent to the person that ended up becoming my first paid coaching client.
I helped them on Reddit with a few things, then sent them a direct message to followup and see how they progressed. This later turned into a paid coaching relationship.
Step 2: Invite
Now you have your initial connections.
You went out and spent 30-minutes on a Facebook group providing value and solving people’s problems. You have proved yourself to be an expert to a select group of individuals.
Now, invite each individual connection to a FREE coaching session. I call this a “complimentary coaching session.”
The goal here is to get your prospective client on the phone or a video call.
Go back to your connections from step one. Go to each person that you had a conversation with and follow-up with them. In a non-threatening non-spammy way, invite them to a free coaching session. Offer to help them.
See my example below. This is another message I had back and forth with someone on Reddit.
I sent them a direct message inviting them to a coaching call after I helped answer a few of their questions.
Notice I simply say “Do you want any help talking through some business ideas and answering your questions about a niche? I’d be happy to jump on a quick call some time to talk through your ideas and give you feedback based on my experiences starting niche websites. Let me know! Happy to schedule some time with you. Figured that’s easier than commenting back and forth”
That’s it. Simple and non-threatening.
I’m just offering to help. At this point, I don’t know if I want to work with them.
They might be rude and obnoxious; I don’t want to work with that type of person! So, for now, I’m just inviting them to a free conversation to provide even more help.
For this first call, I start with a 30-minute free coaching session. This is just an opportunity to coach a little bit, and show some of my value.
If I like the prospect and think they are a potential client, I will invite them to another free coaching session (we’ll cover this in step 4).
Step 3: Coach
Congrats! Someone accepted your invite for a complimentary coaching session. You can begin coaching! For free…
In this step, you’re actually coaching. That’s it. Just show up and help.
The pressure is on the prospect, it’s not on you.
Your prospect is going to show up with questions, they will do most of the talking, you’re simply there to help and provide value where you can. Show up empty and let the prospect come to you.
Remember, all you’re doing in this step is coaching.
Show up and help, don’t expect anything in return. You’re not asking them to pay you yet. Simply show up and continue to deliver more value, for free.
This takes practice.
It can feel awkward at first. Keep inviting people to free coaching sessions, it’s all about connecting with people and helping them in these free 30-minute coaching sessions.
Your coaching will improve, it will feel less awkward as you meet more prospects. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’m still learning, I’m improving my practice during each and every coaching call.
Step 4: Invite (Again)
You coached! That’s awesome. You coached a prospective client in a free 30-minute session and solved some of their problems.
Now do it again.
That’s right, do ANOTHER free coaching session.
If you liked the prospect, if they seemed like a motivated client that has the potential to pay for your coaching, then invite them to a “real” coaching session. But this time it will be 60 minutes or 90 minutes.
The goal here is to show them what a real coaching session would be like.
My coaching calls are always 90-minutes long, so I want my prospective client to get a real experience of my coaching (and how powerful it is) before I try to sell them anything.
It’s like a free trial. Once they see my “real” coaching and experience some breakthroughs, they will want the full thing. They will want to pay for my full coaching package to continue the relationship.
I typically do this at the end of the 30-minute coaching session. I say something along the lines of “Great, well I really enjoyed meeting you. I’m excited about the progress you are going to make over the next week. Want to touch base next week and discuss the progress you have made? We can set up a “real” coaching call. I offer this to one person each week, completely complimentary. All it means is I block off a full 90-minutes to go through a true coaching call just like I do with my paid clients. All that means is we have more time to talk about anything and everything that you have questions about! Because these 30-minute calls can feel rushed.”
For example, see the email below that I sent to one of my prospective clients inviting her to a 90-minute coaching session.
All you’re doing here is getting your prospective client to continue the relationship by giving them even more free coaching and more value.
Step 5: Propose
You have now spent over 120-minutes with your prospective client. You helped them on a 30-minute introductory coaching call and you helped them on a 90-minute “real” coaching call. You have helped them tremendously.
Now, at the end of the 90-minute “real” coaching call, you have three options:
Option 1: Propose – Ask the prospect if they want to hear about your coaching package and invite them to continue as an ongoing paid coaching relationship.
Option 2: Invite Again – If it doesn’t feel right, if you’re unsure if this person will be a good fit for your coaching program, invite them to another free coaching session. Schedule another free 90-minute coaching call at no charge. If they take you up on the offer, they are likely interested in your coaching so you can propose to them after the next call.
Option 3: Do Nothing – If it doesn’t feel like a good fit or if you’re not invested in the person and don’t want to work with them, then don’t offer them your coaching! Simply end the coaching relationship and say something like “it was great meeting you, please reach out to me through email if I can help in the future.”
I’m going to assume that at this point after you have invested over two hours of your life into helping this person, that you want them to be a paid client. Here’s how you make your proposal.
All you do is ask if they are interested. Simply ask, “Would you like to see what this would look like if we continue as an ongoing paid coaching relationship?”
That’s it. No hard sell, no strong push, no icky bait and switch sales tactics. Just a simple question. “Would you like to…”
The ball is in their court.
If they’re not interested and don’t want to hear about your paid coaching program, then no worries! Let them go, and never push them.
They might be back later, or they will pay you back in other ways with referrals and exposure (remember, I’ve been published 10+ times on other people’s websites simply because I helped on free coaching calls).
If they say yes, and they want to hear about your coaching package, then great!
Tell them about it. Tell them about the value.
Something like “For starters, I recommend my three-month coaching package. It’s one 90-minute session per week with my personal help through email or text in between calls if you have any questions. We’ll dive deep into your business and work to [insert accomplish the main goal here] as we discussed over the past few weeks. That’s $1,500 paid upfront for the three-month package.”
And that’s it. Say nothing else.
Let them think about it. Let them stew on that major financial investment. They know the value that you bring, and they know they will get their money’s worth.
If they don’t say yes right away, they will probably say “I’ll have to think about it”.
If that’s the case, then let them think about it. Subtly remind them of all the value and transformation that they experienced because of your coaching over the last few weeks and give them two to three days to decide.
Ask them to follow-up with their decision by a hard date, like this Friday at 5 pm (because you are busy and your coaching schedule is filling up fast).
Give them a few days and let them follow-up with you. If they don’t follow-up, simply reach out and ask if they want to jump on a quick 15-minute call to discuss the coaching package.
And that’s it! As simple as that.
It’s a bit of a numbers game, and not everyone will say yes.
I talked to ten different people (a couple of those were 90-minute free coaching sessions) before I booked my first client. It takes practice so go out, start coaching, and make some proposals!
The beauty of this process is, in most cases, I find that people are asking me about my coaching package before I can propose my package to them!
They are so ready to be coached that before the 90-minute free coaching session is up they are asking me how they can work with me. That’s the best part!
If provide overwhelming value plus so much free help, people will WANT to pay you for your coaching services. They want to keep working with you.
Besides, after you’ve spent 120+ minutes investing in this person’s life, helping with their problems, it’s already in the back of their mind. They already know that they want to work with you.
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t even need a website to begin coaching. But…it helps.
I have a website, and I create content to attract leads. I write blogs and rank them on Google, like this one that’s currently driving traffic to my website talking about ten small business ideas that make money.
I’m building out my website to attract people interested in building businesses, and this helps me connect with them and get them on a video call using the five steps I detailed above.
You can do this too.
Now that my website is bringing in leads automatically, I don’t need to do step #1 anymore.
I don’t have to go out and hustle for leads, the leads come to me through my website and the content that I publish (though I do still go on Reddit because I like helping people).
You should offer online coaching if you’re an expert and you want to boost your monthly income.
Beyond the lucrative financial benefit, you will make lifelong connections, gain exposure on guest podcasts and guest posts, and reap the rewards of an extended network that will repay you in non-monetary ways for the years to come.
Not to mention, getting clients is much simpler than you think.
Coaching is really all about helping people.
Help for free, put yourself out there making connections and providing value, then blow them away with your service and willingness to give on your free coaching calls.
In summary, to get your first coaching client you need to help (connect), help some more (free 30-minute coaching session), help even MORE (free 90-minute coaching session), and THEN propose your coaching practice once they are hooked and dying to work with you.
Go out there and start coaching. As long as you provide real value and are actually interested in helping people succeed with their goals, you can succeed as an online coach.
Jake Lang is an entrepreneur and founder of 7+ online businesses. Jake now helps new entrepreneurs start and scale their first online business at The Entrepreneur Ride Along where he shares his experiences along the entrepreneurial journey starting and growing new businesses. It’s Jake’s mission to start a new online business every year and share everything behind the scenes on The Entrepreneur Ride Along Podcast and The Entrepreneur Ride Along Blog so that new entrepreneurs can learn from Jake’s mistakes, understand the struggles of starting a new business, and find the path to entrepreneurial success.