How to Build a Successful Online Coaching Business – 2 Things You Need
- DAN NORTH
Before you read this post, I want to get a couple of things out of the way:
- You won’t find any quick-fixes here, so if you’re looking for one, you might as well stop reading.
- You can’t be a successful online coach if you haven’t trained clients in person, it doesn’t work that way.
One of the most annoying things you’ll come across in the “fitness internet world” are those douchebags claiming, “If you want to gain 10 clients in one week, use this super-awesome system I’ve developed over the past 15 years for only $2,000!”. You know the people I’m talking about. They’re the ones who talk aggressively fast at the beginning of their ads, striving to get your attention before you realize they’re full of absolute shit and you hit skip.
You’re not going to find any magic pills here. You’re not going to see any quick fixes and suddenly be flooded with new clients overnight. You’re not going to find a “system” to lure clients into a “sales funnel” and learn how to maximize your conversion rates with cheesy follow-up emails that never work anyway.
Instead, I want to offer you a new way of thinking. I want you to start thinking of how to use your unique skills to attract the clients you want to work with.
You’ll need two (essential) traits to make this happen:
The unrealistic optimist…
One of the biggest misconceptions and mistakes that trainers make is having the unrealistic assumption that clients are going to be lining up out the door to throw their money at you.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
No one is going to pay you unless they understand the value you can provide them. Put yourself in their shoes for a second. Would you sign up to train with someone before even knowing what they offer? Probably not.
You have to establish trust. That’s the only way any relationship is going to work. And that’s what this is at the end of the day, a relationship between you and your client.
Communication and trust, you need them both. But you can’t establish trust unless you’re a good communicator. You need to communicate yourself effectively if you expect people to trust you and understand what value you can provide.
So how do you showcase your value and establish trust with someone you’ve never met before? How do you give someone a glimpse into the value your services can provide them? How do you establish that trust?
You have plenty of options, but keep in mind: the only way this will work is if you’re honest and consistent. Otherwise, people will see right through your bullshit. Don’t put stuff out there in the hopes of making money. Yes, you want to generate business. But the business you generate should be the by-product of the valuable content you’re putting out there.
It’s like exercising.
For me, I don’t train to look a certain way. Yeah, the aesthetic benefits from working out are great, don’t get me wrong…but they’re not my objective. My training objectives are to become stronger, move better, and be healthier. The aesthetic benefits I obtain are a by-product of focusing on how my body performs.
So, when you’re putting out content to showcase your value, do it with the intention of helping people, rather than with the intention of getting something in return.
How do you do this?
You can communicate through video, blogs, exercise vids…whatever. Pick your poison. Pick what you enjoy doing and use your strengths to your advantage.
No matter which path you choose, focus on your strengths and what you enjoy doing. It will make your life way less stressful. You’ll be more authentic because of it and will, as a result, gain the trust of your audience/potential clients.
- Write: Blogs, tweets, whatever. Guest write for different publications. The power of written word is timeless and endless. You’ll be amazed by the amount of reach and impact you can potentially have.
- Video: If you’re someone who loves talking and is comfortable in front of the camera, work to that strength. Even if you’re not, do it anyway. You’ll get better as you go and will become a more effective communicator because of it. Remember, communication is key if you’re going to establish trust. And you can’t establish trust if you don’t know how to communicate yourself and showcase what you can provide.
- Voice: Do you find yourself repeating a lot of things to your clients? Whether it’s answers to questions they have regarding nutrition or post-workout recovery, or how to warm-up effectively…there’s always something to talk about when it comes to educating your clients and helping them. So, why not grab a mic, hit the record button, and start talking? You’ll be able to help more people in the same amount of time. Not a bad deal eh?
Think about some of the best client relationships you’ve had. How did they find you? Were they a referred to you by someone you’ve trained in the past?
Referrals are the best. You’ve already established trust. You’ve helped their friend or spouse or colleague or neighbour…so there’s less “fear of the unknown”. They can let their guards down and hold what you’re saying to a higher value, because you’ve already proven that you can provide an amazing service.
Let’s say you’re in a new city and are looking for the best places to eat. What do you do? Go on Google, check out the top rated spots, read some reviews, before you and your partner can’t decide on where to go and end up eating McDonald’s (ps. I don’t know what it is about McDonald’s in Europe, but it’s way fucking better).
Why would someone trying to find you be any different? If someone is serious about finding a trainer or a coach, they’re going to do their research and find someone they can connect with and trust.
That’s why providing as much value as you can upfront is so important.
You’re essentially creating your own resume. The information and value you provide online is reflective of the kind of services you’re going to be able to provide to someone if they choose to work with you.
All too often, coaches will make the incorrect assumption that clients come to them because of their certifications. There’s a false narrative that the amount of letters next to your name is a direct indicator of the value you’re able to provide to a client’s training experience.
Yes, certifications can be wonderful. They’re an amazing way to learn and connect, and develop skills to add to your tool kit. But don’t fall into the idea that clients come to you because of your certifications. Most of the time, they don’t even know what the fuck they mean.
Think about some of the coaches and trainers you follow and respect. Do you watch their videos and read their articles because of the letters in their bio? Or do you go to them because they’ve consistently provided you with information and content that has made a direct impact on your life?
Clients operate the same way. They will be more inclined to reach out to you for your services because you’ve already helped them with the content and information you’ve provided for free.
Your potential of impact is even greater than you think.
You have no idea who is going to come across your material and want to work with you. I’ve had the privilege of working with clients throughout Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Hong Kong to name a few. All because the information I’ve put out has helped them in some way, shape or form.
The last thing you should do is underestimate the power you have to reach out to people. Especially with the juggernaut that is the internet.
The more you focus on communicating yourself in a way that represents you and what you can offer, the better chance you’ll have at gaining someone’s trust. If someone doesn’t trust you, they’re not going to work with you. So don’t be fake. Don’t do the quick-fix crap to gain a quick buck, it never works. And if it does, it’s not sustainable. Don’t sell yourself short on these “systems” being promoted out there. You’re better than that. You’re better than that because you have something of real value that you can provide. You just need to communicate it so your people will trust you.
- Learn to communicate
- Gain your clients’ trust through your communication
- Provide consistent value upfront with honest intentions
- Be patient and think long-term, don’t fall for the “quick-fix” crap
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