How to Launch a Successful Coaching Business
An Essential 22-Step Guide for Coaches & Consultants
Do you want to start a consulting business that’s getting clients in 21 days or less in a long-lasting consulting business? A business that will stand the test of time? If so, you’re in the right place.
We’re going to walk through all the steps that we’ve personally used now to scale multiple brands past seven and even eight figures in the consulting space. We’re going to go all the way from just having an idea down to the running of a business that is getting clients consistently.
Step #1 - Picking Your Niche
One of the most important things you can do when you’re getting started with building out your consulting business is picking the right niche, because what most people don’t realize is that it’s almost always the market that’s going to determine if your offer is successful and not the actual product itself. By that, we mean you can have a really, really incredible product, but if it’s in the wrong market, it’s probably not gonna work well. On the other hand, you could have a pretty mediocre product, but if it’s in a really hot market, that will likely perform better. That makes picking your niche incredibly important.
We highly recommend that you do some research. Look into different marketplaces that are emerging where you feel like the industry is headed, and choose a consulting niche that is going to be something that lasts long term. The other really important thing to keep in mind when picking your niche is that you don’t want to go too broad. For example, let’s say you’re operating in the real estate investing world, you don’t want to just come at it and say “I’m a real estate investing mentor, or I’m a real estate investing coach”; you have to get a little bit more niche down to specific strategies. So a good example might be getting into wholesaling as a real estate strategy that you mentor people on, or creative financing or fix and flip. Get specific enough to show that you’ve got a strategy that people can pinpoint as your method or focus in order to attract your ideal prospect.
Step #2 - Do Your Market Research
Not only do you want to make sure that you’re doing market research to make sure that you’re gonna pick up the market that’s actually going in the right direction and that has a future. You also want to do market research on your competitors. So once you’ve picked your niche and you understand the arena that you’re going to work in, you should start doing research on your competitors.
One of the quickest ways that you can do this research is to run some Google searches for coaches or consultants that are inside of your niche and see what results come up. Once you find some competitors, you can utilize the Facebook ad library. This will pull up a whole database where you can actually look at people’s advertisements live, check out their funnels, and see exactly what they’re doing.
Step #3 - Find Your USP
Now that you know who your competitors are and how they’re operating, you can behind to develop ideas of how to set yourself apart from the crowd. What you need to make sure that you do is stand out in the marketplace and when someone is shopping around for their coach or their consultant, that they know what it is that you bring to the table that’s different and unique. This is called your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP.
Everything that you do after you identify your USP should be based on your USP. That means your marketing, your sales, and your fulfillment; all of it will be based on your USP. Once that has been identified, it’s time to legitimize your business.
Step #4 - Register Your LLC
Thankfully, this step is very easy to do. We recommend simply Googling “Set up an LLC in my state” for state-specific processes. It usually costs, between $50 and $150 depending on where you live. Just because it’s simple does not mean it’s an expendable step; later on down the road, it’s going to become extremely vital to your business operations.
Step #5 - Understand Your Business Departments
In a well-thought-out coaching and consulting business, you’re ideally going to have four main departments. The first department is gonna be your fulfillment department. This is the department that actually fulfills your product and services.
The second department is marketing, which is going to be the department that’s responsible for generating leads and new customers that come into your business (using methods such as your funnel, paid advertising, etc).
Department number three is the sales department, which acts as the arm of the business that’s actually responsible for bringing the revenue in directly. So while marketing brings the leads in, sales is responsible for actually closing and making sure that those dollars come in through the door.
The fourth and final department is going to be operations, which basically keeps the company running logistically. This typically involves accounting, tracking KPIs, making sure that meetings are happening, and so on and so forth.
Make sure to establish those four departments because even if you don’t have a team right now and you’re just running things yourself, you still want to be structuring your business from the get-go with those four departments in mind as it helps you to silo in your mind what are the things that you should be taking care of. Also, when you eventually scale by hiring team members, those roles and expectations will be clearly established.
Step #6 - Decide What You Are Offering
There are the three Cs that we talk about when you’re deciding on what you’re actually going to offer to your consulting clients, which are:
This is typically the three pillars of what every consultant offers nowadays that’s performing well in the marketplace.
So let’s talk about the course; you should have an actual course for your clients to go through. This means that there will be some sort of online portal and a way for them to actually digest what you’re teaching them in a place for them to go back and look at resources and assets.
The second C is going to be the actual coaching. If you’re a consultant, you’ve got to actually do some consulting or some coaching believe it or not. You need to make sure that you have some calls in place to make sure that you’re taking care of your clients and that you can answer their questions for them in real-time, and they have that face time with you.
The third C is building a community. This is vital. The best consultants that we know of in the space, one of the biggest reasons why they’re so successful is because they’ve mastered the art of creating a community. This community could be based on Facebook groups, it could be Slack, and think about where you’re going to build up that culture and get people to start basically just hanging out with each other and providing peer-level support.
Step #7 - Create Course Content
Now you actually need to film and edit the content for your course using all of your expertise and unique knowledge. What we commonly see people do is a course that’s around six to eight modules, and then each module should have between five to ten specific lesson videos inside each module. That just basically puts a really good foot forward with your clients because it showcases that you have all of this expertise, all of this knowledge that you can just provide access to online that they can access at any time.
Don’t overthink this part. A lot of people go crazy because they’re thinking, “My course has to look like it’s on a TV show”, and maybe down the road you can hire more professional editors and make it super fancy, but when you’re getting started don’t overthink the production quality. The most important thing that your clients are really going to care about is if the content that you’re providing actually helps them and if it’s actually valuable. Put your time and effort into that, and then make sure that you just get the course content done.
Step #8 - The LMS
Step #9 - Create a Coaching Call Schedule
Creating a call schedule allows you and your clients to know when it is that they can hop on and attend any coaching calls. We typically see people start with about two coaching calls per week that they offer for their clients in a group coaching forum. This means opening up a team call and answering questions and going through training content or questions from students. The most important thing is that you have a schedule and people know when and where to show up for these calls.
Step #10 - How To Support Your Clients
One of the best ways that you can provide support is by implementing that community element referenced before. Having a place where people can come in and post their questions and get answers publicly is very important because if you can get that to work correctly, someone’s question might actually end up helping a different person too.
Typically inside these communities, people are usually wondering and asking the same types of questions. So if you can have someone ask a question publicly and then you answer it with a thorough answer, you not only helped out a bunch of people because everyone got the answer but also help to establish you as an authority figure and showcases the reason why people are paying for your expertise in the first place.
Now with that said, we also highly recommend that you create some sort of email address with your consulting domain or your company name for people to email support questions privately in case there are students who would prefer not to ask questions publically. Try to provide welcome spaces for all types of people to find answers.
Step #11 - Acquisition Strategy
There are two main schools of thought here. The first is basically a low-ticket product approach, let’s say a $10 book that you’re selling. Throw up some ads to sell your $10 book, and then that $10 book generates a list of customers or buyers to try to upsell to later down the funnel or down the process with higher priced items. This is typically known as the ascension model.
The second school of thought is going direct to the high-ticket items. Here at AdClass, we are much bigger fans of going the direct route in going straight to high-ticket offers. The reason why is getting a low-ticket funnel to work well takes a lot more time and focus, a lot of optimization, a lot of funnel tweaking, and a lot of copywriting. And if that funnel isn’t working right away, You could be burning a lot through ad spend low down in the funnel process without generating much revenue.
When you’re going direct to the higher price items, you know right away if it’s working or not, because you’re trying to sell that high-ticket item to get the high-ticket income to fund things like the ad spend. If clients are willing to buy big straight out of the gate, it helps generate revenue for the business faster.
Step #12 - Film Your VSL & Ads
If you do not know what a VSL is, it is a video sales letter, and you’re going to rely on that video sales letter for the high-ticket direct strategy above. You need a way for your potential prospects to get warmed up and nurtured to who you are and what your process is. When someone’s considering buying a high-ticket offer (let’s just say $10,000), they want to understand as much as possible exactly what they’re getting and exactly who you are. The VSL funnel is designed to build up trust and make sure that if they’re going to invest, it’s going to be worth their time, money, and energy.
In the build-out phase, the thing we recommend you probably spend the most time on in the marketing side is producing a high-quality VSL. At the end of the day, the VSL acts as the heart of your marketing strategy. If it’s not good, if it’s rushed, then basically the rest of the marketing strategy likely won’t work. In this acquisition strategy, we’re running all of our paid traffic to watch this video sales letter, so it has to be exceptional.
When you’re in this same phase of writing the VSL and filming it, this is also a really great time to write and film some ads seeing as you’re already in the headspace of writing marketing material. Your ads are going to be mechanisms that send traffic to your VSL, so pay close attention to the hook of your ads especially. They may address a pain point with your target market, or highlight a particularly strong USP. After the hook, direct the viewer to a free training or a free case study for them to watch, which is what your VSL will be.
Step #13 - Build Your Funnel
Each time someone clicks your ads, they’re going to be sent to a specially designed landing page. Your landing page is a really quick and simple squeeze page that’s basically designed to get somebody’s interest and have the lead opt into a form to get whatever it is that you’re offering (whether that is your VSL or a different lead magnet).
Page two of your funnel is going to be your video sales letter page. We typically implement a button pop below the video to ensure that all leads are moving through your funnel and have actually watched a certain amount of the video itself. You don’t want people to just fly through in case they are an unqualified lead. When they click that button, they move to step three in your funnel.
Page three of your funnel is going to be the appointment application, which is really just a simple page that has a calendar on it that allows the lead to choose a time to book with your team. Have leads answer a few questions in order to complete the booking to ensure they’re qualified for your offer. Once they’ve completed that booking, they now move to the final step of your funnel, which is the success or the pre-call page.
This fourth page is basically just designed to be a thank you, a confirmation for booking with your team. Make sure that you have copy and resources and value on that page that encourages leads to show up to the session that they booked with you or your team.
This simple funnel typically gets built on one of two platforms. You have ClickFunnels and you have GoHighLevel. Those are the two most popular ones that we see people using right now. You absolutely can build the funnel elsewhere (such as on WordPress or Leadpages), but we would say that choosing either of those two funnel-building sites is the easiest when getting your business started.
Step #14 - Email Drip
When a lead has opted in for that VSL training, make sure that you actually have follow-up communication with them. The main reason for this is that when someone is going through your funnel, they might drop off (meaning they might get to the VSL page but they didn’t make it to the calendar booking page or they didn’t see a time that worked). These things happen all the time, and so you want to make sure that you have follow-up communication to act as a net that’s sitting below your funnel; when people fall out, the email drip catches them and throws them right back into the funnel.
Email itself is an incredibly powerful tool. There are millions of dollars worth of business that are made using emails, so do not sleep on it. Make sure that you use it and make sure that you build a legitimate email drip sequence that’s going to encourage people to move back up into the funnel.
Step #15 - Launch Your Advertising
This step is truly our bread and butter here at AdClass. Be sure to check out our other blog posts and videos for extensive coverage of creating and launching ads, but here is a simple starter to get things rolling.
First, you want to pick the right platform. We almost always tell people to start with Facebook and Instagram, simply because it’s a lower barrier to entry. You can start with images and graphics, whereas on YouTube you have to go straight in with video. We also highly recommend Google search ads, especially if you’re already a well-known influencer with a decent following or an established name brand. Google search is insanely powerful. For a different option, we’ve seen great success lately on TikTok as well.
As a reminder, the whole point is getting your ads launched in order to send traffic to your VSL funnel. In terms of costs and typical ad spend for a VSL funnel opt-in, you’ll likely see leads opting in for around $5 to $10 to opt in for your training. As for the cost of acquiring a booked call, that usually sits around $150, though that figure can range depending on how much friction or how difficult you make it for someone to move through your funnel.
The more friction that you add you’re going to see higher lead costs, which means you’re going to pay more for those leads. In theory, because there’s more friction, the people who make it through that will be higher quality leads. For the total cost to acquire a new customer, you’re typically going to spend about $1,000 to $1,500 per customer, but remember we’re talking about selling high-ticket consulting packages which will provide a high return on investment immediately once a sale is made.
Step #16 - Sales CRM
For most businesses or entrepreneurs getting started, the popular Customer Relationship Management software (or CRM) to go with is Google Sheets given its free availability and moderately flexible capabilities due to plug-ins. But ideally, once you have consistent lead flow, you should invest in a high-power CRM such as Close. The ability to filter leads, call and text people, all from one platform, not to mention the ability to understand how leads are moving through the funnel, will all become invaluable soon after establishing your offer.
Step #17 - Build A Team Of Sales Representatives
Most coaches and consultants act as their own sales rep when they’re getting started, but it will likely soon become apparent that a team is needed to handle call volume (assuming the lead generation aspect is working as intended). With that in mind, consider hiring a specialist team of sales representatives. Not only will this allow talented salespeople to handle calls for you, but it will also free up your own time to focus on the areas of business growth you are able to influence or direct within your own zone of genius.
Step #18 - Create Your Sales Script
The best kind of sales script is more like a guideline. It’s a way to move through the conversation and make sure that you hit key points each time (regardless of who is performing the sales call). If you read through a script, literally word for word, you’re probably going to sound like a robot and likely not sell anything. Leads will want a human touch and personality, so make sure that you’re hitting some key points on the script without falling back on it entirely.
Step #19 - KPI Tracking
Each one of your business departments needs to have KPIs that you can track so you see whether you are hitting goals or not. Here are some of the common KPIs that you can track for marketing:
- Return on ad spend
- Cost per lead
- Cost per call
- Conversion rates on landing pages
For fulfillment and sales, some of the best KPIs to track are:
- Client retention
- Client success
- Dollars per lead generated
- Show rate
- Close rate
Then moving into operations, the big thing that you want to track there is obviously profitability. Business operations can only ever continue if the revenue generated exceeds the costs of operation by a certain degree. Typically what we see as a strong profit margin in the consulting space will look like 40% to 50%.
Lastly, use an attribution-based platform to track those vital KPIs such as Hyros to make sure your data is accurate and available in real-time (something hugely lacking with Meta and Google native metric tracking functions).
Step #20 - Payment Processor
Step #21 - How To Deal With Contracts
Whenever someone buys your services, you want to make sure that you have a user agreement in place. This is important because it protects you and it protects them in case anything untoward happens later down the road. It acts not only as terms of service for agreeing to pay for your offer, but it also protects the usage rights of your content (specifically course videos, etc) from replication or distribution outside of stated means. We also highly recommend that for you to use legal counsel to make sure that any contracts or binding documents are written appropriately to serve their true purposes.
Step #22 - Leadership Cadence
Make sure you are having a regular cadence of collaboration within your businesses’ leadership. If you’re a solopreneur, you still want to take some time to look at critical company data such as KPIs, but once you have a team, you should absolutely make sure that you set a meeting schedule where you all look at department KPIs together. This is an incredibly important meeting as it allows everyone to come to the table and review ways to improve business (while celebrating wins together along the way).
Need more assistance in creating your own offer, running paid advertising, or managing any part of your marketing? Let’s talk! Click here to schedule a personal one-on-one strategy session today and see what AdClass can do for you!