Building a Local Coaching Practice vs. Online Coaching Business

in Get More Clients,Make More Money,Most Popular Articles

19137147One of the biggest reasons people become coaches is for the flexibility of the lifestyle it can bring: work as many or as few hours you want, work with as many or as few clients as you desire, fire any client any time, coach from your deck or the beach, charge any fees you want, and many other freedoms being a coach can bring into your life.

The reality, however, is very different. Most coaches don’t get to choose the clients they want and find themselves working way too hard for little money. Why does it happen? In working with coaches for almost nine years I discovered that there are three biggest reasons this happens:

  1. Building a practice instead of a business, which results in chasing clients and offering them free sessions, instead of creating valuable resources that attracts coaching clients.
  2. Using traditional methods to get coaching clients: networking, referrals, and speaking to local groups.
  3. Focusing on building a local coaching practice, which creates a lot of movement and busyness, but produces poor (or slow) results.

I talk a lot about the first two reasons – think “business” not “practice”, and half of you problems will be solved overnight.

The third reason is something that keeps many coaches not only struggling financially, but also creating a job they hate. Imagine being rejected 90% of the time – that’s what it’s like trying to build a local coaching practice for many coaches. Here’s why.

When you are focused on building a local coaching practice…

  • You network, speak, and volunteer locally, which is extremely time consuming and can easily take up 20+ of non-billable hours a week. Just getting invited for lunch, where someone basically gets free coaching from you, may cost you 10-20 additional hours a month!
  • You try to explain and sell coaching, and we already know that coaching doesn’t sell – it simply has no value by itself, and needs to be a by-product of some kind of specialized knowledge. So you get rejected, feeling loss of confidence and a growing fear of failure.
  • You are competing with all the coaches in your local area, unless you differentiate yourself by specialty, industry, or approach, and I’ve seen how competitive coaches get – sparks can fly in the room when two coaches are trying to get business! You may also be compared based on your fees: “Hey, this coach charges only $75 an hour, why would I pay you $125 an hour?” a local prospect will say.
  • You may have some clients or prospects stopping by your house to drop off a payment, ask a question, catch up, or just to say hello.  Some might not mind being a local celebrity, but this may cause you to lose your privacy if that’s important to you.

So how do you create the kind of coaching business, where prospects find YOU, and are ready to hire you without questioning your credibility, skills, or fees? And, a business that doesn’t take 20+ hours a week to market?

Enter online coaching business! When you are building an online coaching business, you can use a “pull” strategy, which I define as creating an environment that attracts ideal coaching clients to you like to a magnet. Cliché? Perhaps. But that’s exactly what happens when you use the principles of building a virtual coaching practice:

  • Specialized knowledge (focus on a specific topic, problem, or industry and become known for it)
  • Creating value (articles, teleseminars, books, special reports, tools, and other valuable resources)
  • Leveraged visibility (1 hour of your work equals 10 hours in offline world using leverage online)

Does this make sense? I hope it does. That’s exactly how I built my own coaching business without any previous entrepreneurial experience and a strong aversion to selling. All I do is specialize, create value, and leverage – coaching clients find me online and already know what I can do for them. A great place to be!

If you are thinking right now, but I already write articles, do teleseminars, and share valuable resources with my niche market – why am I still struggling? Perhaps it’s how you do it. I’ve seen many coaching articles very unfocused, just rambling along, and no call to action.

I’ve also watched many coaches walk away from a teleseminar empty-handed, and many teleseminars have under 50 people on them. It takes a very simple formula to fill your teleseminar with hundreds of people and walk away with new clients at the end.

There are many other strategies you can use to build your coaching business online, but don’t get overwhelmed – there are only 3 proven to work naturally and easily for coaches: article distribution, hosting teleseminars, and creating content (blog/newsletter/e-course). The reason they’re a natural fit for coaches is because you can use all three of these to teach your stuff, connect with people, and position yourself as THE coach to work with. (Learn more about getting coaching clients online using these 3 strategies correctly here.)

The only other strategy I highly recommend to get coaching clients online is joint ventures and strategic alliances. This strategy alone added dozens of new coaching clients to my business in a matter of one month.

Building a local coaching practice can make you a celebrity.  But building an online coaching business can create a series of lifetime income streams for you. You choose.