5 Steps to Starting a Profitable Coaching or Consulting Business Right From The Beginning

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Written by Joanna Sapir

There are so many people that get into coaching, consulting, and health/wellness that are really great at their craft, really great at providing their service and helping their clients. But they don’t know how to build a profitable or sustainable business doing it. 

So down the line, they’re either: 

  • struggling to find clients and aren’t making enough money (so maybe they get a job with a paycheck and their business becomes a side gig that never develops, or they’re facing serious stress and the breakdown of their health and relationships)

or

  • they’re scheduled for sessions every day, mornings and evenings, have too many demands on their time, have no time for self-care, they struggle with their own health and relationships, and they’ve basically built a business that’s unsustainable

I’d like to help you avoid these pitfalls and set your business up right – from the beginning. 

Because it’s totally possible and realistic to build a profitable and sustainable coaching, consultant, or health/wellness business that provides you the income you need and the lifestyle you want, including time for self-care, family, friends.

Here are 5 steps to start building a profitable and sustainable coaching or consulting business:

#1 Charge the right prices. 

Your prices can make or break your business.

Charging enough is essential to having a sustainable business and making enough money to achieve your financial goals. If you’re not charging enough, you will simply never make enough money and will be constantly struggling or working yourself to the bone to try to make ends meet. 

I know a lot of new coaches, consultants and health/wellness practitioners are confused about how much to charge, and they often make the mistake of looking at what other people are charging and thinking that’s what they’re supposed to charge too…

But this is a mistake. What other people are charging has nothing to do with your expenses, your income needs, or the amount of time you have to serve clients. 

Your prices have to match the income you need and the amount of time you have to serve clients. You need to design a sustainable work schedule for you based on your ideal lifestyle and your personal and family needs.

So what you do is you work backwards:

You take the number of hours you will be working directly with clients. 

(Note: your time working directly with clients, in a successful coaching business, is really only 20-30% of your working hours – the rest is spent on running your business: doing things like marketing, content creation, data analysis, and strategic planning.)

Next you take your business expenses, your personal income needs, and your profit goals. With these numbers you work backwards to determine what your hourly base rate is. 

And from there, you create pricing and packaging using your base rate. 

I have a free calculator you can download to guide you through this.

#2 Offer the right packages for your clients.

You want to provide results – transformations – for your clients, right? We feel good, as coaches and consultants, when we are truly helping people achieve their goals.

But you know that one or two sessions or hours of your time is not going to help your client complete a transformation.  So don’t offer single sessions or an hourly rate! Or even packs of 5 or 10 sessions or hours.

Design long-term, ongoing service packages that can ensure your client’s success, and also provide you a predictable monthly income. Furthermore, by ensuring your client’s success, you are also ensuring that he or she will refer you to others. 

How do you design ongoing service packages to ensure client success?

A simple framework is to think of 3 levels of service, like Gold, Silver, Bronze. 

What I want you to do is imagine one of your clients and think about what would be the most amazing level of coaching for them to experience the transformation they’re looking for. 

Would it be a weekly session with you, along with daily email support and video lessons, for 6 months? 

I’m just making that up and not suggesting those specifics…I am, though, telling you to dream up the highest level of service you could and would want to provide for your clients. You can call this the Gold level. Then bring that down a notch, perhaps it’s less frequent coaching from you, or some sort of decrease in the level of support, and make that the Silver level. Then do that again for Bronze. 

That’s just one simple framework you can use. There are many models.

You could also have varying lengths of service. 

Consider offering 3, 6, and 12 month memberships, or some variation of that, at each of your levels of service.

My pricing and packaging calculator will also help you create those service packages and make sure they’re priced right for your business.

#3 Master the consultation process (aka sales).

I know that a lot of people new to business, and especially a lot of people in coaching, consulting, health and wellness, get anxious about that word sales.

I hear people say, “I’m so bad at selling myself.” When I hear that, I know that person doesn’t understand what an effective sales process really is.

Because you’re not selling yourself. You’re selling a solution to a specific problem that your prospective client has. 

And they are coming to you because they have a problem they want solved, or a goal they want to reach, and they are wondering, hoping – really – that you can help them.

You need to talk with this person, learn about their problems and their goals, and determine, yourself, whether your services can help this person.  A simple way to do this is through a free consultation. 

How To Have A Successful Consultation

As the service provider, you guide that consultation. Remember that you’re the expert, you’re the coach/consultant or health professional, and your prospective client is coming to you for your expertise. So you lead the conversation. 

Your focus in the consultation is on the prospective client, not on you and your services. Ask them about their goals. Ask them why those goals are important to them. You need to get below the surface here, and if you’re going to work with this person, understand that this is the beginning – this is when you establish – the trust and openness needed for a strong coach-client relationship. 

You also want to make sure you have a screening process for your consultations so that you don’t spend your time doing free consultations with people who are not a good fit for your services or who are not willing to invest money in your services. You do that by asking some specific questions before you schedule the consultation appointment. Ideally, you want at least 80% of your free consultations to result in a sale. 

And that word, sale?

It’s not a negative, it’s a positive! A sale means you’ve made a connection with someone that you know you can help, that wants your help, and that’s ready to invest in their own growth. It’s really exciting to make a sale and you should celebrate it!

#4 Know your target market and your message.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you that you need to identify your “target market” or your “ideal client”. And you might be resisting that idea… You might be saying, but I can help so many people, I don’t want to focus on just women, or just one age group, or just one type of problem!

But you have to define the bullseye of the target that you’re aiming for. You have to call out who your people are so that they come to you, and repel the ones you don’t want.

Sometimes business owners get stuck on defining the demographics of their target market: their ages, zip codes, income and education levels. This is important and helpful data for targeting, yes…

But what’s more powerful for your messaging is the psychographics of your target market. That’s the feelings – the pains and problems, and the goals and desires of your ideal client in their words, not yours. You want your ideal client to read or hear what you say, and think: “She just described me!”

All of your communications need to talk directly to the people you want, and ideally in their own words. From your website to your LinkedIn profile to your elevator pitch, you should consistently communicate who exactly you work with and what problems you solve for them.

#5 Build your email list.

You can’t try and sell your services to people that don’t know you.  It’s like walking up to stranger and asking him or her to go on a date with you. Uh…awkward.

If you are marketing to people that don’t already know you, you have to create a strategy to get noticed, introduce yourself, demonstrate that you’re trustworthy, knowledgeable, an authority in your area of expertise, warm them up, establish connection, get them to interact with you in some way…

And then, only after all of that, make an offer of your service.

You have to turn a cold audience into a warm one before you try to sell them something. One of the most effective ways to do that is by building an email list via an email marketing service like ActiveCampaign. They offer a free trial so you can check it out.

Create a lead magnet – a handout, tool, checklist, or training – that your ideal client would love. Then offer it for free. The catch is that they have to provide their email address to get it. Some call this an “ethical bribe.”

(Note: it is both unethical and illegal to put someone on your email marketing list without their permission. Don’t do that.) 

Now you start building your list of leads and over time you nurture them. You consistently send nuggets of information to help them, you stay in their mind as a helpful source of information that offers knowledge and tools and tips. Show them who you are and what you’re about.

Then when you offer a service or product for sale, they’ll buy from you. In fact, your list will become one of your most valuable assets. It’s like your own personal pond to fish in. 

Summary:

The 5 steps to start building a profitable and sustainable coaching, consulting, or health/wellness business are:

  • Charge the right prices
  • Offer the right service packages
  • Master a the consultation so it converts at least 80% of your consultations to long term clients
  • Know your target market and use the right messaging to attract the ideal client
  • Build your email list

To implement these steps in your business, let’s talk. Schedule a Discovery Call with me here.

Get the FREE Masterclass:

5 Shifts for Coaches to Get Long-Term Clients & Predictable Income

Joanna Sapir is a business strategist and coach helping innovative wellness practitioners and coaches build more profitable and sustainable businesses. She's on a mission to build a movement of people creating a new vision and reality for our future as humans on earth.

Want to talk about how to grow your wellness business?
→ Book a free consult today.

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