Building a coaching business is a continually evolving process. You need to be willing to adapt to the changing environment you are operating in if you’re going to be successful.
In the beginning, that means going through the process of finding your first client, then building up experience working in one-on-one coaching sessions. But while working with clients individually is incredibly rewarding (and enlightening), it’s not the only way you can operate.
In fact, there are a few life coaching business models you can employ to ensure that you’re always scaling upwards and finding ways to help more people (and increase your earning potential) while simultaneously gaining more free time.
In this article, let’s look at what a business model is and how to run a successful coaching business with the help of effective models.
What is a Business Model?
In a strict business sense, a business model is a plan that a company carries out to make a profit. It outlines the main products or services provided, the target audience that is likely to be interested, lays out the way to attract and nurture that audience, and considers any potential expenses that might impact the potential profits.
And since any successful coach must treat their career as a business, it’s a good idea to use business terms when making a plan as well. While a coach may not be exactly the same as a regular company, the underlying process remains more or less similar, which means that you can develop a business model that will maximize your chances of success.
With a life coaching business model, you can achieve more structure in how you set your priorities, understanding what steps you need to take to reach the goals you set out.
And as your life coaching practice grows, the business model that you implement will inevitably need to evolve as well. As we discussed, while most life coaches get started with one-on-one sessions, scaling the business requires them to transition into a group coaching framework, which is an entirely different business model that impacts every aspect of how you operate on a daily basis.
But these two options barely scratch the surface of the opportunities that you have as a coach.
Essential Life Coaching Business Models
Now that we’ve looked at what a business model is for coaches, we can start going through specific models that you should consider if you want to maximize the number of people that you can help and the revenue potential you can achieve.
And just as in any field, coaching has a set of business models that have been proven to work for thousands of coaches worldwide. Of course, the specific model you end up choosing will depend on the type of business you want to have, how established you are, and a variety of other factors. But in the end, each of them can be looked at as a progression that gives you more freedom and allows you to help more people.
Let’s go over five models that you should consider below.
There are probably few (if any) coaches that get started without doing one-on-one sessions as the central part of their coaching business. That’s because these types of sessions are easiest to organize, require the least initial investment, and also serve as an excellent learning opportunity by allowing you to work with dozens of interesting clients who help you discover more about the core challenges in your niche.
Because of that, it’s probably wise to stick to individual coaching as the initial phase of your career if you’re starting out. But at the same time, you need to make sure that you leverage the experiences you gain into other frameworks if you don’t want to stop progressing.
One-on-one coaching is great, but only until you reach a threshold where you cannot accept new clients and are always trading time for money instead of focusing on your business.
But at the same time, you need a proven framework to transition into other business models, which takes time to develop. During individual coaching sessions, you don’t have to worry about curriculum or courses and can use the expertise that you have already accumulated to guide your clients through their situations.
Of course, you still need to have a coaching model for structuring each session, but that’s much easier to figure out than building an entire coaching program from scratch.
And while there are some limitations to how many clients you can take on, you can continually add value to your coaching and increase your pricing as you gain more recognition in your field and book up your schedule.
As you start systemizing your approach, you will become better at predicting the common themes that the journey with each client will have. And that’s when you’ll know it’s time to transition into a group coaching business model, which we will explore next.
Many less experienced coaches are hesitant about transitioning to group coaching because they fear they won’t be able to provide enough value to their clients. And while it’s true that it can be hard to replicate the individual attention you can provide one-on-one, group coaching is the natural progression that allows you to help more people without having to make major sacrifices in terms of quality.
What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to worry about the quality of what you teach suffering, either. As you transition into group coaching, you can start small, with a group of just around five people, gradually increasing the size of the group as you get more comfortable.
You can also experiment with various group coaching frameworks, transitioning from one to another as you gain more experience and develop a curriculum that can streamline various parts of the coaching.
While group coaching does take some additional planning, the advantages that it comes with are hard to ignore as well. Instead of working with a single person, you can work with five, ten, or even twenty people at once, massively increasing the amount of revenue you can gain from your work.
And even though the sessions aren’t as personalized, you can still provide individual attention to each participant, helping them work through their unique challenges. And that means that you can still offer a ton of value that will generate excitement around your coaching.
One of the most powerful life coaching marketing ideas you can use is thinking laterally in terms of how you can help your clients. In other words, as you discover more about the main challenges that you can help your clients solve, you should consider the types of add-on services you could include in your coaching business model to offer more value and cater to more people.
If you find yourself working in a narrower life coaching niche such as health and fitness, your primary goals will revolve around helping people become healthier, reach their fitness goals, and learn to take better care of their bodies. But while that’s an excellent business model in itself, you will not be participating in every part of their transformative journey.
If you want to expand your revenue potential while simultaneously gaining more control over how your clients better their lives, consider offering add-on services that are extensions or enhancements of the services you already provide.
For instance, following the same health and wellness example, you could partner up with a local gym, offering a place for your clients to train at a special rate and taking a cut of the profits that the gym gains from your clients.
This way, you can gain an additional stream of passive income that you would not gain access to otherwise. At the same time, you can ensure that your clients receive adequate care and have all the equipment they need to achieve the desired results.
People who work with coaches are on a continual journey of self-improvement. Whether it’s becoming healthier, more successful, or more at peace with oneself, once a person gets on a path of improving themselves, they will often stay on that path for a lifetime.
And that means that while a client may stay with you for a long time, you may not be the only coach that they end up working with. Whether you like it or not, they may work with other coaches in your niche, coaches in complementary or similar niches, or even take courses by celebrity coaches like Tony Robbins.
But instead of looking at it as a negative, you can leverage that into a business model that can provide you with another passive income stream.
Using affiliate marketing, you can actively promote coaching programs that you know are good and can help your audience, earning a commission as high as 50 percent or more for every person that signs up.
However, if you want to maintain a good reputation and not lose the trust of your audience, be very careful about the programs that you recommend. Perform thorough research and prioritize quality over the commission, only suggesting programs that you have checked out and you know are helpful.
Ideally, these programs shouldn’t be directly competing with your own but should instead act as additional educational materials that help enhance the learning experience and gain more insights into approaching various problems.
You don’t want to end up being an affiliate marketer for coaches, so it’s essential to make your own business the primary source of your income. And at the same time, you can then do joint ventures with other coaches, getting them to promote your products through an affiliate program when you’re promoting theirs.
One of the biggest constraints of a life coaching business is having to trade time for money. And while some of the life coaching business models listed above can help you generate some passive income, they still take up a lot of time and effort that you could spend growing your business.
That’s why creating coaching courses is the next logical step in the growth of your coaching business.
Once you have a reputation and the ability to help people in person, you can use that to create an online course where you lay out the process for achieving the goals your clients want to reach.
In many ways, the course can replicate the process you use when working with clients in person. The main difference is that in online courses, no actual participation from you is required, which means that you could theoretically have millions of students that enroll in your course and achieve excellent results without you having to invest any of your time.
And that also means that when it comes to scaling your business, there’s no way to beat the possibilities offered by online courses. Once you develop a comprehensive, useful, and effective course, every client you attract will basically be passive income. An online course can generate revenue for many years, requiring most of the effort upfront.
What’s more, as you build your online course community, you can use it to upsell more personalized coaching packages at higher price points, further increasing your earnings potential and leveraging different life coaching business models to maximize your growth potential.
And when you use an all-in-one coaching platform like upcoach, you don’t have to worry about the technical details of putting together a course. The intuitive course-building platform allows you to quickly upload videos and other resources, sharing them with the right people at the right place.
Finding the right life coaching business model will eventually determine how successful you can be. At first, one-on-one sessions will probably be the primary way of working with clients, but you should always be thinking about what other models you could implement and how they could enhance your business.
The business models listed above should provide you with a full range of possibilities, combining in-person events, group coaching sessions, and various automated resources that you can use to continually scale your business and sustain growth over the long term future.