- Why does adding a coaching program to your offer suite work?
- Step 1. Decide which part of your business you’ll turn into a coaching program.
- Step 2. Decide on the length of your coaching program.
- Step 3. Decide your deliverables.
- Step 4. Decide on a meeting cadence.
- Step 5. Set your price.
- In conclusion: Try adding a coaching program. You may find that you like it!
In my book, MINDSTORMS: 25 Exercises to Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur, I tell the characters who have just decided on the idea they’re going to build their business around to start with coaching. And if you haven’t added a coaching program to what you’re offering, read on, because this post will detail how adding a coaching program to your offer suite could double your monthly revenue.
It’s fun to tell people who are new to making money online that they should set up an 8-week coaching program and charge $5K for it because their eyes inevitably bug out of their heads. But the people who listen to me, and implement, come back days or weeks later, incredulous.
“I didn’t think people would pay ME $5K to coach them,” they say. “But someone did, and what’s more, they’re really liking the process.”
Why does adding a coaching program to your offer suite work?
Let’s pull back a second. Your business is not about:
- What you do
- Why you’re qualified to do what you do
- Who you know
- The features of the thing you sell
- Heck, even the BENEFITS of what you sell (I was taught to sell the sizzle, not the steak, but that doesn’t make sense… you can’t survive on sizzle)
- Where you went to college
- Which credentials you have
It’s not about any of those things.
Your business is about two things:
- The problems you solve
- The people you solve them for
And chances are, the problem you solve is a pretty sticky problem.
Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to build a business around it.
Especially not a knowledge-based business.
With me so far? Good.
Let’s say you’ve been in business for at least six months. You’re solving a problem through a service-based business, and you’re pretty darn good at it. You’ve gotten more than a handful of happy clients and you’ve posted their testimonials on your website and throughout your social media channels.
Those clients have referred more clients to you, who are also happy.
But how do you scale?
By doing less work.
It sounds completely counterintuitive, but it works.
Let’s break it down.
Step 1. Decide which part of your business you’ll turn into a coaching program.
The way I see it, there are two approaches to choosing your coaching program:
- Coach people on the service you offer, or
- Coach people on your business systems
Let’s say you deliver high-end, high-touch services.
You’ve been in the trenches for long enough that you simply have a ‘feel’ for how things go. You know it when you see it, but you can’t systemize your thought process or your path to the end zone.
You can’t teach your clients how to do what you do. In fact, that’s precisely why they pay you, so they can solve their problems faster and better.
This is where a lot of service-based entrepreneurs stop. “I’ll never be able to teach people how to do this highly-specialized skill,” they think. “So I guess I can’t start coaching.”
But doing that leaves money on the table.
Let’s take a look at a good friend of mine, Bethany McCamish. She’s an in-demand branding pro and website designer. She also does copy. If you need help with any of that, you should talk to her. But talk to her now so you can get on her calendar in three months.
Her area of expertise is so specialized that she could easily think that adding a coaching program couldn’t work for her.
How could she distill her design ethos in a condensed time frame so that someone else could get it?
But she has a unique way of setting up her business. So she designed a coaching program (she calls it the Creative CEO Mentorship) that helps other people set up their business for success, using her particular expertise in creating a solo business.
So take a page out of Bethany’s book and remember there’s more you know about business than the actual service you provide.
Step 2. Decide on the length of your coaching program.
Again, there are two schools of thought regarding length:
- Short, intense period of focus
- A more consultative approach
This boils down to results. What kind of results can one get from your coaching program? Are there specific deliverables or outcomes they can achieve? And how long do those take?
I’m a big fan of the short, intense period of focus approach, and have found that 6-8 weeks is the sweet spot for what we offer.
When you do what you say you’ll do in a shorter period of time than your client is expecting, you end the coaching relationship on a high note. They’ve gotten more than what they thought they’d get, you get a glowing testimonial and the satisfaction that you’ve helped them solve a particular problem.
We’ve actually extended this for our done-for-you clients as well. We like quarterly engagements more than annual contracts so that we can get in, get things done, and leave things on a high note.
The annual approach sounds like it would be better: more predictable revenue, more money overall, more more more.
But the problem is, your client will lose focus. They won’t do what they said they were going to do. They’ll miss calls. Skip appointments.
And they won’t want to keep paying you.
Even though, as a coach, it’s not your job to implement.
So you don’t get good referrals from a client like that. You don’t even get more than lukewarm testimonials from those kinds of clients.
So start small. Then allow a client to hire you again for another eight-week commitment.
Step 3. Decide your deliverables.
We discussed this in step two, but what does a person get after working with you?
What are the results?
In the two-on-one mentorship, Emma and I run, we set expectations about deliverables during the first meeting. With each client, they’ve varied, but they include things like:
- Sales page frameworks and copy
- Webinar slide decks
- Email sequences
- Landing pages, thank-you pages, and forms
Essentially, things we can draft together and have the client refine and make their own.
That way, they have tangible deliverables (at least as tangible as they can be, given the online nature of the work) as well as overall strategic guidance on other aspects of their launch.
When you decide on your deliverables at the onset, make sure you have them in writing, and as you go through things, mark them off a list. Keep this list and your notes in a place where the client can see them.
That way, there are no surprises, everything stays on track from one meeting to the next, and you’re able to really help your clients achieve their goals.
Step 4. Decide on a meeting cadence.
In the beginning, I thought it was best to meet with coaching clients on a weekly basis. I was wrong, and here’s why:
Although hiring a coach is a top priority for your clients (otherwise they wouldn’t have committed to it), it’s not their ONLY priority, and unless you want to get frustrated with them for not completing what they said they’d complete after a week, spread out your meetings.
But set it all up in that first meeting, where you set expectations. We get all four of our meetings on the calendar in the first five minutes of that first meeting. Same bat time, same bat channel.
But it’s worth noting… if you set your coaching program up to give your clients homework, know that they’re likely to do most of the work in the hour before your next coaching session.
So don’t schedule it first thing in the morning. For everyone’s sake.
Step 5. Set your price.
I mentioned above that an eight-week coaching commitment can cost $5,000. If that seems high, then hey, it’s your coaching program. Set the rate wherever you want.
But I intentionally put pricing down here, after getting you to figure out deliverables. Your value is not broken down by the hours you spend with your clients. Your value, of course, is in the time you spent sharpening your skills.
There’s a story I’ve read so many times that it’s probably a parable at this point, and that’s the doctor who spends five minutes removing an appendix, then sends a large bill.
The patient is outraged. “It only took you five minutes! Can you justify your price?”
The doctor nods. “Five dollars for the incision. The remainder? Knowing where to cut.”
Remember that. Your clients are paying for the shortcuts that took you six years to learn. They don’t want to spend that time. They want the shortest path to solve their problem.
And they will pay for it.
In conclusion: Try adding a coaching program. You may find that you like it!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten off a coaching call feeling like I was walking two feet above the ground. Coaching clients is really fun. Getting them to borrow your brain to help them get to where they want to go, faster than they can get there on their own is what it’s all about.
In the beginning, make sure you’re only scheduling one coaching session per day. More than that and you can burn through your energy faster than it takes you when you’re doing the heads-down work of creating something else.
And if you don’t like it, quietly stop offering it.
But if you do like it, congratulations! You’ve found another revenue stream. Work at this for a bit, then you’ll be close to doubling your revenue.