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How to Start a Business

Getting Clients as an Online Coach (WITHOUT Having a Big Brand!)

What’s the secret to getting clients as an online coach?

Start with ONE client… and then serve them in the best way possible. 

You see, far too many online coaches crave having this big brand with thousands and thousands of customers, but they make the mistake of trying to skip steps to get there.

And it just doesn’t work. 

But when you learn how to really serve that one client strategically… before you know it, that one turns into 10 and then 100… and then 1,000 clients and beyond. 

I’ve taught over 10,000 entrepreneurs how to launch profitable and fulfilling businesses, but I started out by coaching individual clients on how to build their websites and their brands. 

And when I think back on how I went from having one client to more than 10,000, there were actually seven specific steps that got the ball rolling in the right direction. 

And they are…

  1. Niche
  2. Package
  3. Attract
  4. Sell
  5. Deliver
  6. Sell again
  7. And scale. 

And in this post, I’ll take you through each step!

Or you can watch the video below…

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Choosing a Niche

So it all starts with choosing a niche and then creating a coaching package around that niche. Because so many coaches try to be all things to all people – I’m a life coach AND a business coach – that they end up being nothing to no one. 

But when you choose a specific niche or problem to solve, it’s like turning on a lighthouse where you’re sending out that beam and attracting people who specifically need the solution you have to offer.

You’re telling them: I help people just like you. I can help you.  

So, for example, instead of being a general life coach, perhaps you find women who’ve just become empty nesters and teach them how to figure out their purpose in the second half of their life. 

Instead of being a generic business coach, you help people prepare for an exit event.

You want to really niche down because the more specific you are, the more universal you become.

You’ll avoid being a general bargain basement “help everyone with everything” kind of coach and become someone who is known for helping people around YOUR specialty. 

For example, my friend Mark Lack is a business coach who’s focused on building personal brands. And because he’s really specialized in helping people create a product around their brand, he’s working with a lot of celebrities to help them custom create their products and then launch them to their audiences. 

Now there is a lot to the process of choosing a niche! 

That’s why I have a FREE Masterclass on discovering the business you’re meant to build and how to share it with the world. So if you want more of a deeper dive immersion, head here and sign up for that free workshop that’s specifically designed to help you tune into your business niche. 

Packaging What You Do

Once you’ve nailed your niche, you want to package it into a specific offer – It could be a VIP day immersion, a package of six sessions, a three-month package, a six-month package or even a one-year package. 

The key is being specific

That way you can get away from selling just one coaching session at a time where you have people call you only when they have something specific to really leading your clients and saying…

This is what we’re going to do together

This is what it looks like. 

This is how long it’s going to take us. 

This is how much it’s going to cost. 

This is what it’s called.

These are the steps we’re going to focus on. 

And when you do that, your business comes alive and you stop trading time for money!

You’re able to make one sale that pays you for three months or an entire year instead of doing the kind of one-off approach to building a business where you’re in feast or famine mode all the time.

Attract Them

Over the past 10+ years, I’ve seen coach after coach try advanced prospecting strategies right out of the gate… and they give up before they even land their first 10 clients. 

And if you frequent blogs, subscribe to any newsletters, join Facebook groups, you know that there are hundreds, even 1000s of marketing strategies out there. It can be overwhelming!

BUT when you know that there are actually 7 essential strategies to deploy when you’re first getting started (and you only need to start with 2) it’s a whole heck of a lot less daunting. 

This is what I call the Marketing Pyramid…

Now, so often, when people start building an online business where they’re meeting people on Zoom and attracting them online, they start at the top of the Marketing Pyramid with Authority or 1:Many Marketing. 

They think that once they start an Instagram channel, for instance, and broadcast to as many people as possible, they’ll become an influencer. 

BUT it can take a lot of time to grow your following. You also don’t have a deep connection with each person on that Instagram channel, so it’s harder to turn those followers into actual buyers. 

So before you try to be everywhere online, I recommend starting with Connection-Based, 1:1 Marketing. 

This is where you’re focused on creating conversations with one person at a time. Now, you can still use online channels to spark those conversations. But no matter which channel(s) you choose, you want to focus on moving them into one-on-one conversations.

And here are the 7 ways you can do just that. Just pick any 2 of these essential strategies that you want to focus on, and as you grow, you can add more. 

Chatterboxing

Chatterboxing is a specific kind of conversation that you have everywhere you are online and offline. This can only happen when you realize that YOU are the voice of your business.

Because when you understand that and fully own it, you’re going to start getting into very strategic conversations everywhere you go – it could be at the grocery store, sitting next to someone on an airplane or in a Facebook group.  

The goal with chatterboxing is to start conversations AROUND your topic… not trying to sell. 

And through these conversations, you’ll identify when someone’s a potential prospect. And if they are, then you want to move them into deeper conversations about what you do. BUT only do this if they are a potential fit. 

The core belief behind chatterboxing is that you act as the representative for your business everywhere you go. 

I highly, highly recommend you choose chatterboxing as one of the strategies to try. 

Double Down in Hub Communities

Your goal is to become the #1 resource in someone else’s community. This could be an association, a network or a Facebook group. 

My friend, John Corcoran, did this with a group of high-achieving women. He became the lawyer they all recommended, and he was able to fill his entire practice just by becoming the go-to lawyer in that one community.

Become a Hub

If you’re more of a social person, you might consider creating your own hub community.

The significant advantage here is that you’ll get to fish in your own bucket… you’re not a guest in another community. You get to make the rules and showcase your expertise to people specifically interested in your topic. 

Social Videos to Private Messaging

If you love video or want to at least give it a try, you might consider this strategy as one of the two you choose when getting started. 

With this strategy you’re able to get into conversations with people who’ve already raised their hand… and you do that through video.

Hop on a Facebook or Instagram live and teach something related to your topic. Then, when people respond and interact with you, shoot them a private message. This is where you can really develop deeper connections with the people who are already connecting with the content you’re putting out there. 

It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Mine your value network

I really believe that you already know everyone that you need to know, no matter who you are and where in the world you live, to at least start your business and get to six figures. 

You can build a $100,000 business just by mining your value network or the people you’re already connected to in some way, shape or form.

And you do this in a very strategic way where you’re giving and receiving from that network. So they are introducing you to the people who are going to become your clients and your partners. 

Finding Referral Partners

These are people who are also starting their business, but they do something slightly different from you.

Because remember, if you’ve chosen a niche (step 1), you’re able to differentiate yourself from other coaches who might be similar to you. 

Facebook Prospecting

Here, you basically “spy” on other communities. You watch what people are posting and asking and respond with your specific expertise. 

Then, you might private message them to start conversations, give value and support them.

But remember to always follow the rules of each individual group. 

So that’s just a quick overview of the 7 essential strategies to getting your first 10 clients and then scaling your coaching business. Remember to pick 2 if you’re first getting started and if you’ve already got 10 clients, choose a few more of these strategies to implement. 

4. Sell Your Package

After you’ve attracted the right people, it’s time to sell!

Which can be scary or intimidating when you’re first starting out. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who are just waiting and waiting to sell their package (and they never sell!). 

They think they need another certification or another 100 hours of practice giving it away for free before they sell. 

But the truth is…

Just sell 3 packages as quickly as you possibly can, and then you actually have a business.

Because having a business isn’t about having something to offer; It’s about having people buy what you have to offer. 

And the reason I say sell 3 packages is that selling 1 could be total luck, selling 2 could be a fluke but selling 3 means that you’ve started to have a proven package. So if you can get 3 people to buy it, you can probably get 6, then you could probably get 60 and… many, many more. 

Now, if you want help doing these first four steps, which are niching, packaging, attracting and selling, I have a coaching and training program. And if you want to talk to one of our Live Your Message coaches, head here to schedule your 25-minute call. 

One of our coaches will talk you through precisely how we can support you in doing those four steps. 

5. Deliver Extraordinary Value

Once you get that first client, you want to WOW them so that they want to buy from you over and over again. For our Momentum program, 50% of our students return for another year because they’re so happy with what we deliver. And here’s the thing, not only is that an excellent experience for you, because you gain confidence when you know what you have to provide is extraordinary, but it’s also well known that existing customers are 12 times more likely to buy from you than someone brand new. And they’re also up to 16 times more profitable because a lot of the expense in running a business comes with attracting customers in the first place. 

So once you’ve got them, you want to treat them really, really well, so they keep buying from you and referring you to their friends! This brings me to…

6. Sell Again

Don’t just sell once, but have more than one offer so you can sell again to your existing customers.

That’s when you activate the trifecta of selling more to more people at higher and higher price points. When you have that next step offer, you start to have a real business. You’re not just coaching one-offs. You have people staying with you, buying repeatedly and becoming fans and people who refer. 

So you want to sell again. 

7. Scale

Once you’ve done the first 6 steps, you’ve got a business you can start to scale.

You want to scale your prospecting. You want to create that consistent client pipeline where people are coming in on a regular basis. Because once you’ve got your two essential strategies dialed in and are ready to scale, you can supplement those 2 with a few more advanced strategies.

Such as: starting your own Facebook group, LinkedIn prospecting, guest blogging, starting a meetup group or other forms of local speaking.

Those are all ways you can scale your prospecting and create that six-figure online coaching business. 

So to recap, these are the 7 steps to getting your first one to 10 clients and then ultimately taking your coaching practice to $100,000 and beyond…

  1. Niche
  2. Package
  3. Attract
  4. Sell
  5. Deliver
  6. Sell again
  7. Scale

You don’t have to be a statistic, like all the coaches who are making less than $50,000 a year living on the poverty line.

You can deliver extraordinary value and service in the world while making an incredible living. 

You’ve got this! Now go out there and live your message 🙂

Where are you at in your coaching or online business? I’d love to know (and see how I can further support you). 

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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

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