As a coach, consultant, expert, or author trying to get your name out there, make a difference in the world, and build a business in the process, it can be overwhelming to decide HOW you want to grow your business.
There are many ways for coaches to make money online. Some are total BS while others are tried, true, and PROVEN to get you to where you want to be.
Today, we’re going to get clarity around 6 PROVEN ways for coaches to make money online, teaching what they know, love, and are good at.
And I’m not just saying these are “proven”. I know these are proven because I’ve either used them myself to make money online OR I have friends in the space who have done it and been successful.
This isn’t fluffy minutia, these are real business models that will grow your coaching/teaching business over time. They are real, they do work, and they also take work on your end.
So listen through these 6 proven business models, decide which is right for you, and at the end, I’m going to share with you a strategic approach I would take regardless of which one I chose to give you a game plan and some clear actions to take.
Let’s dive into 6 proven ways for coaches to make money online!
As we go through these 6 business models for coaches, consider which one is most appealing to you based on where you are at in your business.
Easily Accessible - Books are accessible for a lot of people, both on and offline, at a very reasonable price point (typically $10-$30)
New Opportunities - Being a published author is a great title for coaches and can lead to public speaking events and bigger opportunities that would be harder to achieve if you weren’t an author.
Great Lead Magnet - There is a reason Russell Brunson over at ClickFunnels created a “book funnel”. Books work as great “freebies” online because they are value-packed and in order to get the book, you “just have to pay shipping and handling”. That way you put in your credit card info, then authors actually make money from upsells on the back-end. The “free book” is was drew people in.
It’s A Lot - Books take a long time to create and require lots of research (good ones anyway). You don’t just make a bestseller overnight.
Difficult To Update - If you wanted to add a chapter to your published book, you don’t just log into your dashboard and make the change, it requires you to republish the book and make more copies (unless you did a print-on-demand model with your book).
Low Selling Point - Books are naturally a “low-ticket item”. If you wanted to make $10k/mo with a $10 book, you would have to sell $1,000 copies per month! Unless you have a lot of traffic, I wouldn’t recommend starting here.
Recurring Revenue - This is probably the most attractive part of a membership site. Knowing you’re going to make X amount of money every month is a great feeling and a dream for most coaches.
Serve More People - A membership site allows you to coach a lot of people and build a community of like-minded people that can help each other with you at the lead.
On-Going Work - You can’t just price a membership at $47-$97/mo and just let it go while you sit back watching the money roll in (sad). Membership sites, while they do create recurring revenue, require you to continuously create new and relevant content for your students, coach them, and be active in your community.
Need an Audience - Don’t jump the gun on starting a membership site too early, otherwise, it’s a waste of time. I recommend promoting a membership when you have AT LEAST 1,000 active email subscribers or followers.
“Churn” is a Thing - “Churn” (the number of people that unsubscribe) is a real thing and something you need to consider. There are ways to create an environment where people are less likely to leave but life happens and sometimes people just want something different.
Accessible to Many - Online courses are awesome because they are less expensive than your 1-1 coaching and students can take them at their own pace without feeling rushed. Plus there is no limit on the amount you can sell because it’s all digital.
More Value - Online courses are more valuable than books because they’re videos of you teaching your students as if they were in a live coaching session. You can also add pdf downloads and worksheets to assist them in maximizing their results.
Passive Income - Courses can be automated and are scalable because you stop trading your time for money. Once your course is built, people can buy it, get instant access, and get results while you work with clients or have coffee with a friend.
Great Profit Margins - You could use a tool like Kajabi and pay a fixed amount of $150/mo to run your entire online coaching business and have a course worth $197 that sells one copy per month. Now your software is all paid for! But what happens when you’re making a sale a day?? You get the picture.
Lots of Work - Online courses take a lot of time and energy to create and it’s not always guaranteed that your first course will sell. It took me 6 tries until I created an online course that sold for me hands-off!
Understand Marketing - If you go down the online course route, you’ll need to learn about funnel building and copywriting as these 2 skills are what will make your break your online course business.
It’s Powerful - Public speaking is hands down the best way to show authority and expertise in the topic you teach. When someone gets on a stage (especially at a big event) you just assume they are legit, especially when they have the skills to back it up.
Leverage Bigger Audiences - A great benefit is being able to “piggyback” other people's audiences either on a stage at an event or by guesting on a podcast.
One-To-Many - For some events, you can get paid just to be on stage speaking AND have an opportunity to offer your coaching packages or sell a course/program directly from the stage!
Biggest Fear - Public speaking is the #1 biggest fear for people. More than dying!! Yes, people would rather DIE than speak on a stage in front of people to grow their business. For some people, speaking is easy; for most, it’s not.
Getting People To Show Up - This is probably the most difficult piece of a speaking career, especially nowadays. I find it far more productive to speak on other people’s stages who already have a similar audience and leverage their audience.
Booking Yourself - I’ve paid agencies $200/gig they book for me and they weren’t even good opportunities. It adds up quick. I was getting booked for Rotary meetings with people that didn’t even care about what I was talking about! I’ve personally booked myself to speak for Mass Mutual insurance and enrolled the Vice President in my coaching program for, at the time, $3,000! Booking yourself takes work, resilience, and a lot of NO’s.
Serve More People - You can work with more people at a time rather than devoting all of your time and energy to 1 person at a time. Plus, other people in the group can connect and help each other.
Frees Up Time - Group coaching is far more scalable than 1-1 because you can host a group of 10 people that each pays $3,000 and make $30,000 (or just some solid monthly income) while only working 1 hour per week.
Less Personal - Even though you’re working with multiple people, you can’t beat the intimacy of 1-1 coaching. Depending on what you like and what you’re looking for in your coaching business, this may be a pro or a con for you.
Need Enough People - There is no point in building a group coaching program when you don’t even have enough demand to fill the seats. If that’s you, you’re better off sticking with 1-1 until you get there.
Charge More - You can undoubtedly charge the most for 1-1 coaching because people pay for proximity. The closer they get to work with you, the more you can charge because the more time and energy you put into them.
Most Simple - 1-1 coaching requires minimal tools and they're all practically free. You just need to have conversations with your clients and help them get the result they want.
Most Valuable - Understanding how to coach people is what makes every other one of these business models work. In the end, that’s what you do! When you develop the skillset of knowing your audience, having conversations with them, and turning them into paying clients, no one can take that away from you.
Most Fulfilling - Nothing really beats 1-1 coaching because it gets people the best results possible (also why it’s the most expensive). When people get great results, they're happy and the coach (you) is happy.
Not Scalable - Coaching one person at a time takes a lot. A lot of time, energy, focus, and effort. It’s great for getting started, or as a premium product you offer in your business, but it’s not the most scalable unless you have a team.
1 Person at a Time - 1-1 coaching is just that, one-to-one. You can only focus on one person at a time, even in a group. But at least in a group, you can answer multiple questions at a time by answering one person's question.
Regardless of which business model you choose, they all can work and give you the type of success you’re looking for - make an impact and income doing it.
Here’s what I recommend…
There are many ways to build a successful coaching business, these are just 6 but they are proven and they actually work.
Download this 5-step action plan PDF to create an automated system that sells your knowledge, passions, and skills online 24/7.