In order to help all of you who are new to your coaching business, and specifically for those doing Marie’s B-School research project here are my answers to the questions. (I am not a B-school Affiliate, but Marie Forleo’s course is a good introduction to online marketing for someone starting a business. It’s closed now for the year.)
I started my business as an NLP life coach 11 years ago. I started practicing with family and friends, and worked on it part time for 5 years while I also worked another job as an assistant coach, and executive assistant to pay my bills. I think that this is a useful way to start a coaching business, as it can give you time to build experience and figure out what you’re doing without the pressure to pay your bills for you.
I was lucky enough to spend the first 5 years of my coaching career apprenticed to two very different, and very experienced coaches. I was first apprentice coach and executive assistant to hypnotherapist Mark Stephens of ThinkSlim, for the first 3 years, and then joined my dear friend, and original NLP Trainer Alice Haemmerle’s business as a part of her coaching team for a couple of years. In these early years I had some private clients for my own business on the side to my job as an apprentice coach. In my job, I would assist Mark running his business, and also phone coach his clients whenever they had problems. I found that this experience being an assistant and apprentice, was an invaluable insight into what two different profitable coaching businesses were like, and how experienced NLP coaches actually coach clients. I learned so much simply listening in as my mentors coached. I also had the benefit of working within my industry and learning, while receiving a small but steady income, while I grew my experience and confidence as a coach.
My first clients for my own business were family and friends, and friends of friends. After I had coached with all the people I knew, I held goal setting seminars and workshops free for the public in my area, I would usually have 20 people attend from flyers and letterbox drops and then a couple of people would talk to me about 1:1 coaching after that. My business was mostly referral based at the start, and I didn’t have a huge client load, as I was doing it part-time. I didn’t know anything about online marketing then. I had no niche, and my website said I could help you with anything from losing weight, to fixing your relationship, to finding your dream career… Oops! And 11 years ago, social media was just getting started, so I marketed the only way I knew, with flyers, free seminars, and netowrking meetings… #oldschool
I don’t believe in mistakes, you can always look back and say, if I had my time over I might do that differently, but in the end the mistakes are often what lead to your greatest insights. As long as you make the best choice you can make at the time, that is what matters.
To share some advice on some cash I frittered away… I have thrown away a lot of business cards, flyers and brochures that I had printed, and then went out of date before I could use them all. Only buy what you genuinely need when printing. Don’t let yourself get up-sold!
About 5 years into my business I realised that there were two skills I needed to run an effective business.
1. Being an excellent coach capable of delivering results and getting to the heart of the matter for the client… AND 2. being an excellent marketer of coaching and the benefits it can have on people’s lives.
Once I figured that out, and invested in learning online marketing my business took off.
The next big leap forward was thinking about myself as the CEO of my business and hiring people to do the jobs that it wasn’t essential that I do. You can’t do this when you start of course, but as your cash-flow grows, hire team members so you can take non-essential tasks off your plate. Also when hiring, hire by the project first not on a wage, to see if the person is right and can get the job done. Get yourself a VA (Virtual Assistant) as soon as you are able to afford them!
I realised I needed to be an excellent coach, and an excellent marketer.
Based on my 11 years experience, I probably have a different perspective to some other trainers or marketing coaches, who say “Price yourself as a premium coach immediately” I believe in authenticity, and over-delivering. I believe your price depends on your other qualifications in your niche, your experience, your confidence and your authenticity in believing you are worth what you charge and can OVER-DELIVER value to your client.
I did my first few sessions with friends for $50 a session, then after a few of those I put my price up to $75, I charged $100 for a few years, and then $300 for a few years. Now 11 years later, as my time is very limited, and I can help many more people by creating programs and courses, my private coaching sessions are only available in premium transformation packages for thousands of dollars.
I think that as a general rule $100 a session is a fair price for a new life coach or health coach, because you are just starting out and without experience, you cannot get results as quickly as a more experienced coach could. A beginner NLP Coach could deliver value at the $200 per session rate, as they are focussed on mindset transformation instead of advice and goal setting. As you get more experience, confidence and can deliver faster results for your clients, then you can increase your prices.
Sure, I am open to collaborations with other coaches, I often speak in online summits, and as a guest expert in other programs. I would be open to requests like this as long as the offer was a win : win. I also have very limited time, so unfortunately I cannot accept every offer that comes my way.
I think with all the amazing marketing training available now, there is a big “fraud factor” in the industry, as newbie coaches are taught to proclaim themselves to be experts and charge premium prices, but don’t have the authentic experience and results to back that up. I know that secretly new coaches charging premium prices often are afraid that they cannot deliver the results that they claim. This is a big problem.
I agree that niche-ing and claiming a space in the market is critically important, as is pricing yourself correctly for your value. Always be authentic with the results you can deliver and the experience that you have. Don’t underestimate your value, but don’t overestimate it either. You need to be able to powerfully know with certainty that you can deliver the results that you claim. Otherwise no amount of marketing and pretty landing pages will help you. Your true lead magnet is YOUR FREQUENCY… YOU!! Not your e-book, or your video series, it is the frequency of your BEING that resonates through those mediums to connect with your clients. If you are inauthentic and afraid, your marketing will tank, and whoever has invested in you will figure it out sooner or later, and you will get yourself into trouble with refunds and drama.
Focus on the value that you can genuinely and authentically deliver, and consider what that value is worth to someone in their life. Think less about the time that you spend together and more about the change that you are able to facilitate for someone.
I also wholeheartedly believe that every person who calls themselves a coach, needs to have in-depth mindset training, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner Certification) is the best for this. First to help yourself and your own limiting beliefs, and then to learn true mindset coaching to be able to help your clients.
Many health coaches, nutrition coaches, personal trainers who come to learn NLP from me, in my Mindset Mastery Mentoring Year after they realise that it is not enough to GIVE ADVICE to their clients. Clients will not follow advice for very long, no matter how good it is, if they have unconscious sabotaging beliefs. I believe a true coach must have the skills to be able to help their clients address these issues, or at least know when to refer out to a Mindset Coach when these sabotaging patterns show up.
If you truly want to “create a business and life you love”, you need to be persistent. You will have many set-backs along the way. It is a business, not a fairytale. Celebrate your wins, celebrate your falls and keep moving forward. Find a tribe of friends who are in business too, that you can mastermind with, and keep each other going when the road is long and uncertain. Don’t focus on what everybody else is doing (Certainly never copy anyone else) and stay true to the message that you want to serve the world with. It will happen for you if you keep taking action with your goal in mind.
Coaching these days has become a bit of an “it girl” type of profession with so many pretty, styled girls with instagram green-smoothie, yoga, and laptop lives and #gratitude posts daily. It is easy to compare yourself to the coach down the street, or the girl who pops up in your feed all the time, thinking that she’s got it all together and you don’t. This is not a useful habit of thinking. Unfollow. Instead of focussing on others and what they are doing, stay true to WHO you want to help, and the service you want to help them with. Do not get caught up in the silly social media surface of the modern coaching industry. And definitely do not get caught up in comparison-itis and “I’m not good enough” thinking, that will get you nowhere. If you want to be a professional coach, you must stay true to your service mission and authenticity, continue to grow and look to mentors who lift you up, and help you excel.
“Having ongoing training is essential for our team and our business. It’s important to look after the people that look after others. Kylie has the experience, professionalism and knowledge to engage with our team and help them understand about human behaviour and why people do what they do. In the wellness and health industry it’s a different sales and service delivery and it’s imperative to keep on top of these understandings to perform at our best to help others. We couldn’t recommend Kylie high enough.”
I have worked with Kylie over many years. She has helped me as a Business Mindset Coach, as a motivational speaker for clients when I had my gyms with Vision and more recently at Flow Athletic. I bring her in to train my Personal Training teams in mindset, communication and how to coach our clients better and excel in our own personal mastery.
I highly recommend her work.