If you’re reading this, you’re a coach who loves working with people and you’re looking to build your online business. The problem is you don’t know where to start.
Deciding which services you should provide online is a lot like choosing your favorite ice cream at Baskin Robbins. With so many options, it can be an overwhelming task.
While there’s no “blueprint” or “one-size-fits-all” prescription when it comes to being an online coach, there are some things you should consider.
In this article, we’re going to cover:
· 3 tips to starting your online coaching business
· 4 online coaching business models
Let’s get to it.
3 Tips to Starting Your Online Coaching Business
1. Don’t Worry About What Other Trainers Are Doing
Online coaching is in abundance and the number of options can be overwhelming.
A quick Google search for “online personal trainer” and you’ll be bombarded with results. Dave from Nebraska offers virtual 1-on-1 training sessions while Cindy from Toronto runs weight loss challenges for women.
While having an idea of what other trainers are offering can be useful, stressing over it will do you more harm than good.
Instead, pay close attention to what you love doing most in your career. What is it about coaching that you’re truly passionate about? And how do your services reflect your passions?
2. Find Your Passion(s) and Play to Your Strengths
When you discover your passions, you’ll understand which services to provide for your clients online.
Start by asking yourself this: “When do I feel most engaged during the day?”
You might love 1-on-1 sessions with your clients. Or maybe you feel the most fulfilled when you’re writing programs. Or maybe you love both aspects of coaching and want to combine the two into your online business.
No matter which direction you choose, your services should reflect your passions and your strengths. If they don’t, the quality of your coaching will suffer (as well as your business).
3. Listen to What Your Clients Want (And Need)
Your clients will often give you the best advice for free, without you even knowing it. Hidden in your conversations are clues as to what they want (or need) from you as their coach. Or better yet, you could just ask them for feedback. Your clients will be more than happy to help any way they can, so don’t be afraid to ask.
You can send your clients a simple Google Form to provide you feedback on their experience working with you, and to give you a better idea of how you can help them online.
Here are just a few examples of questions you can include in your survey:
· In a perfect world, what would you like from me as your coach? Check all that apply:
o Exercise Technique
· What do you personally respond best to? Check all that apply:
o Order and structure. I like being told exactly what to do.
o Guidance. Point me in the right direction and I’ll take care of the rest.
o Motivation. I need someone to really push me or I’ll fall off the wagon.
o Technical details. I enjoy learning why I’m performing certain exercises and how I can do them better.
· Which of the following services sound like the best fit for you?
o Virtual 1 on 1 training sessions
o Hybrid (virtual sessions and programming)
Again, these are just a few examples of questions you can ask your existing clients to get the juices flowing and give you a better idea of which direction you could potentially take your online services.
4 Online Coaching Business Models
Once you’ve considered the above tips, it’s time for you to decide which “business model” you want to emulate. Keep in mind, your business (along with the industry) is constantly evolving. Your services aren’t “set in stone” forever – you can always change your approach as you go! So don’t overthink it. Bruce Lee said, “If you spend too much thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
So pick a direction and go!
Pros: Leverage, time management, ability to reach out to more people
If you’re a coach, I’m willing to bet you were the go-to person among your friends and family whenever they needed fitness tips.
“Hey John, what’s the best exercise for a bigger chest?”
“Hey Stace, what kind of deadlift do you think is best for growing a bigger butt?”
What started as simple questions eventually led to people asking if you write programs. Being the helpful person you are, you jumped on the opportunity and were more than happy to write plans for friends so they could get the most out of their workouts.
Now, you might want to incorporate that passion into your online coaching business.
Programming is great because it:
· Allows you to reach out to more people
· Allows you to manage your time more effectively
· Is more cost-effective for your clients
Programming may be the best option for you as a coach if you:
· Enjoy writing programs (duh!)
· Work with clients who are self-motivated and don’t require extra accountability through 1-on-1 training sessions
· Work with powerlifters or other athletes who need programming leading up to their respective competitions
2. Virtual Training Sessions (1-On-1 and Group Training)
Pros: High rate of success, personal interaction, real time attention
Maybe you’re a people person and love training clients in 1 on 1 settings. That’s awesome! Use it to your advantage. Private training sessions can be immensely beneficial for both you and your clients.
Things you should consider about virtual training:
· Time. How many hours do you want to devote to private training sessions per week?
· Experience. How will you provide the best possible experience for your clients (who are most likely working out from home and have limited access to equipment)?
· Energy. Coaching online takes a lot of energy. You need to be motivating, engaging, and take your verbal cues to the next level when you coach your clients online.
Benefits of private virtual training sessions:
· Personal Interaction. Face to face time is huge when it comes to building long-lasting relationships and adds a personal touch that’s lost among all the free programs you can find on Google.
· Real-Time Assessment. You’re able to give real-time feedback on your clients’ form and technique as opposed to reviewing videos they upload to their programs. This can be an invaluable experience for some of your clients and sets virtual training apart from programming.
· High Rate of Success. Depending on who you’re working with, private training sessions tend to offer a higher rate of success as opposed to programming. This isn’t the case if you’re working with highly self-motivated clients with training experience who are simply looking for a kickass program to follow. But if you’re working with people who need extra accountability and real-time attention, taking them through their workouts personally will provide better results than if they were to do them on their own.
3. Hybrid Approach
This is the option I personally tend to lean towards. By following the hybrid approach, you’ll provide a combination of programming and private training sessions for your clients. How you decide to combine the two services is completely up to you.
Here are a few hybrid coaching options you can consider:
· Phased Sessions. Maybe your style of programming provides new workouts every 3-4 weeks. In this case, you could take your client through the first day of each phase so they know exactly how to do the workout on their own. I’ve found this to be very useful for many of my clients as we can ensure they’re performing the exercises with optimal technique and make any adjustments in real time.
· Weekly “Check-In” Sessions. If you work with clients who could use that extra bit of accountability throughout their program, weekly check-in sessions are a great idea. You could use that time to take your clients through their workout and leave 10-15 minutes at the end of their session to answer any questions or give any feedback/instruction you feel necessary.
· Monthly “Check-In” Sessions. Same idea, except you’ll be seeing your clients on a monthly basis instead of weekly.
4. Group Challenges/Programs
Are you the type of coach who loves working with large groups of people? Is community an integral part of your coaching and you’re looking for a way to incorporate it into your online business?
Group challenges and programs are a great way to motivate your clients and build a community of like-minded people by following a program or challenge together.
Benefits of group challenges/programs:
· Cost-Effective. You’ll have the ability to reach out to a wider audience since group challenges and programs are a reduced rate when compared to private coaching.
· Time-Management. Instead of writing 50 different programs for all your clients, you can provide the same program for 50 different people.
· Community. Community is huge when it comes to keeping people engaged and accountable online. When you have other people following the same program as you, it’s hard not to stay motivated. Members are there to support each other along the way and often times will help you do your job from an accountability perspective. It’s easy to skip your workout when no one’s watching. It’s much harder to do so when you know you have a bunch of other people following the same program and showing up.
How to do it:
· Decide who you want to involve in your challenge. Having an idea of who you’re looking to attract to your challenge will help you from both a programming and marketing perspective. You can’t write a great program if you don’t know who the hell you’re writing it for. Additionally, you can’t tell people why they should join your challenge if you don’t know who you’re speaking to. Is it women looking to improve their lifting technique? Is it men looking to get rid of their “dad bods”? You need to decide who you’re speaking to before you can write your program or market it in any capacity.
· Pick a start date. Choose a firm start date for your challenge with a registration deadline. This is one of the major benefits of running a challenge because:
o Everyone starts at the same time and goes through the challenge together.
o It incentives members to join.
· Promote it on your social media. If you’re on Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media outlet, promote the heck out of it. Post it on your stories, your posts, do whatever you have to in order to get the word out there.
· Make a private Facebook group. The biggest benefit of running group challenges, as already stated, is the community aspect. Create a private Facebook group (or even a WhatsApp group or something similar) where members can connect with each other. Within the group, members can:
o Ask each other questions
o Keep each other motivated and accountable
o Reach out to you for any support they need along the way
o Show off their progress!
There’s no blueprint to a successful online coaching career. It takes time, dedication, consistency, and hard work. Much like what you tell your clients it takes to reach their fitness goals.
Stay the course, focus on helping people as much as possible, and be relentlessly consistent.