My motivation is to show coaches how to make a living doing what they love to do without needing to be famous.
B. Michelle Pippin, the author of The (No Longer) Broke Coach, and the founder of WomenWhoWOW.com, the most exclusive association of women business owners in the world, talks to us about building a lucrative six figure coaching business. She believes that a six figure income is possible for coaches willing to put in the work.
Here are the extracts from her interview.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m the daughter of a construction worker and the wife of a public school teacher. I couldn’t afford to coach for experience, and I had no interest in only “looking successful.” I had to be profitable, right out of the gate.
When I learned (back in 2008) that the average “full time” coach was earning less than $30K a year, I realized that I would need to do things dramatically differently in order to make ends meet.
At that point, I took note of the “stuff” most coaches were doing to build a business.
I knew they offered free strategy sessions, and used them as thinly veiled sales sessions.
I knew they had a “what is coaching” tab on their website, when — let’s face it — no one cares what coaching is… They only want to know if you can solve their problem, or not. I knew they charged by the hour.
I did everything opposite of that, and began to grow an impressive coaching income. After I settled into my own success, I began teaching other coaches what I learned. The (No Longer) Broke Coach program was born.
The program I developed is practical and simple. Therefore, coaches love it… It makes sense, and it quickly turns a profit. My motivation was to show coaches how to make a living doing what they love to do without needing to be famous. I wanted to show that a six-figure+ income was possible for any coach willing to do the work.
How does about the business side of the profession work?
A great start is following my example – look at what everyone else is doing and then do the opposite.
After that, decide on a few things:
- What problem do you solve?
- For who?
- Where will you show up (as an EXPERT, not a peer)?
- What do you want to sell? (1:1 coaching, group programs, a membership)
In terms of marketing, identify the thing you LOVE most. For instance, I love creating content. I create more content than 90% of all the experts online. Truly, I love nothing more than waking up and producing content via articles, videos, audios, etc. And so, logically, I use content to market.
What do YOU want to wake up and do all day? Is it talking to people one-on-one? If so, create a marketing plan centered around that. Is it speaking to groups? If so, design a marketing plan around that. Is it webinars? A podcast? Networking? Whatever you LOVE to do can be used to market and sell your services.
You get to orchestrate your own marketing plan to fit your personality and preferences.
There is NO “one best way” to do this. You want your marketing to be as effortless and as flow-based as your coaching, so you really want to anchor it to your strengths and passions. Financial success also comes quicker this way!
Finally, coaches need to know two important caveats of making money coaching.
- When you ask people to pay for coaching, you are asking them to pay for ACCESS to you. Therefore, networking, coffee dates, and letting people “pick your brain” for free can work against you in business. So, protect access to you if you truly desire to sell it.
- DAILY is how you win at the coaching game. You must show up — in some way — every single day to grow a six-figure+ business. This shouldn’t be a chore, since you’re showing up according to your own passion and preferences.
How do you teach someone to get his first client?
I tell them to host a ONE DAY “coaching event,” where they do what is equivalent to an open house.
They set up a full day of coaching appointments with ideal prospects, and coach their hearts out. DO NOT pitch on these calls, but work through ONE specific issue with each prospect.
Then, follow up with each person privately to see if they’d like to continue what began on their initial call. Don’t ask them to START coaching. Ask them if they’d like to continue what was started on your initial session.
Tell us about marketing for coaches
Marketing is woefully and unnecessarily over-complicated in our industry and in many others.
Marketing for coaches is most analogous to a lighthouse. A coach wakes up and (somehow, according to what THEY love doing) sends a message out to the world. A blog post, a video, a cartoon, a graphic, a webinar, a slideshow… whatever.
The right prospects will see the message and be drawn towards it.
What does this look like in real life?
First, you find out where your ideal prospects are already hanging out, what they’re reading, whose online groups they’re participating in and you SHOW UP. You can show up digitally or in person.
But you show up and shine your light, i.e. talk about what you’re so passionate about, how you help people, sharing success stories of people you’ve served.
And then… you propose. You invite people into a professional relationship with you.
What are the typical revenue streams, as a coach?
Revenue streams as a coach are absolutely endless, and each income stream has it’s own pros and cons.
1:1 Coaching is the easiest to sell and is sold at a higher price point, but is also limiting as the income isn’t leveraged at all.
Events can be amazing income streams, but you really have to do it right often securing sponsors to make it truly profitable for you. Events are HUGE marketing tools as well, if done well. There is a financial, and potentially, an ego risk inherent in planning an event, if it doesn’t fill.
Group programs are great leveraged income and can monetize your expertise with very little overhead. Marketing a group program effectively is very nuanced depending on who you are targeting and the problem this group program will solve.
Digital products are (now) easy to create, fun to market and can create an evergreen, ongoing stream of income.
Online Memberships are the most fun, the most leveraged, and can be the most profitable of all coaching income streams. Anyone can create a lucrative membership program, but they are best marketing on the “back end” of a HOT digital product or group program. Memberships can be tricky to get off the ground, but well worth it.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to become a coach?
Do it!! This is the most rewarding career and can be incredibly profitable. The best part is, you can build a coaching practice around your own priorities, on your own terms. It is truly a lifestyle business.
B. Michelle Pippin’s advice for business owners has been featured on Good Morning America Weekend, Forbes, Entrepreneur, the Price of Business, Inside Business, and many others. Readers can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.