In this issue
  1. Feeling like a fraud? 5 ways to beat imposter syndrome 10 min read
  2. How to get coaching clients with 3 emails 10 min read
  3. Building a coaching business that stands out in the marketplace 14 min read
  4. How to know when to transition your work into a coaching business 15 min read
  5. 13 coaching tools to help you stay in touch with clients 15 min read
  6. How to set your online coaching package 12 min read
  7. How to scale a coaching business 11 min read

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Issue #23

Building a coaching business that stands out in the marketplace

Business Models Coaching

You want to help more people, spread your message, make an impact, and show people what you know.

You’re ready to build your coaching business, but now what?

With a sea of coaches and marketing experts, how do you stand out and build a unique platform to stand on?
Building a coaching businessHow do you create a business with clients who are just waiting to work with you (and is this even possible?)

There’s so much excitement in building a coaching business and working with clients you love. You CAN believe the hype because it IS possible to build a business you love without working 80 hours a week, but it involves some upfront work.

If you take these steps, you’ll be on the right track to building a thriving community, clients that love and respect you, AND steady, increasing income.

Why you need to build a unique coaching business

Nicole Culver- Focus on the people you serveLet’s get real first. Standing out in a crowded marketplace can be tough…sometimes…even excruciatingly painful.

If you’re building a coaching business and trying to scale it, how can you possibly do it all when there are so many other people out there doing the same thing?

You have to be willing to be AND do what most others aren’t. We have to remove ourselves from the comparison trap and just focus on the people we are helping and serving.

It may sound hard, but it’s actually supremely easy. In this post I’m going to break it down for you and show you what you need to do to grow your coaching business AND build a community of people who are dying to work with you.

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Blissful Eats beginnings

Seven years ago I made the leap from my 4th grade NYC teaching job to full-time entrepreneur.

I had no clue what I was doing, but I knew I didn’t want to be teaching anymore. And that discomfort of the Sunday Scaries and waking up to a job I massively fell out of love with was a good enough reason to jump into the discomfort of building my own business from the ground up.
Blissful eats logo

My Paleo granola company, Blissful Eats started from the Joseph Campbell quote, “follow your bliss.” (Actually it was called Pure Bliss Eats, but funny enough, you can’t trademark a business that someone else has in the same category… so do your research first. That was the first of many lessons learned!)

My food company was a grassroots company from day one. I started with just about a million different products. You’ll quickly see I did just about everything wrong to start, which in turn…taught me a lot of lessons in growing my business.

One thing I DID do right was start an email list.

Through seven years of running Blissful Eats and growing it over six figures in revenue I learned so many lessons that I’ve leveraged into my second business, The Social Shift, where I help women in the wellness + health industry simplify first and then scale their businesses.

There are many parallels from Blissful Eats to coaching and that is how I developed the Influencer Income Engine Blueprint, which is my framework for growing a raving fan base that naturally gravitates to your products and services.

Taking these steps will make it much easier for you to grow and connect with the people you are helping.

First I want to take you through some basic steps so you can grow your business.

6 steps to building a coaching business that is credible

The most overlooked step out there is the one that can have the biggest impact on your business and be the difference between building major momentum and falling flat in your first months and years in business.

There are many people who stay in the hobby stage for far too long simply because they’re not willing to take this step.

Look down right now. See where your feet are? That’s exactly where you start…from where you are.

6 steps to building a coaching business

To grow your business you have to build and establish credibility in your niche. This takes time to happen and you have to be patient, but we can be strategic about it. We can also speed up the process by going local while you build your online business.

Let’s talk stages of business!

Step 1: Build your expertise

This can be the hardest step if you’re just getting started. Here’s the good news. What you do can be fluid– it can change and be flexible.

I know we want to be running our own 6-7 figure businesses with passive revenue, but the fact is you need time for your business to grow.

The people who are consistent, show up with valuable content, and make offers to help are the ones that have success.
Building a coaching business step 1- build expertise

What is your superpower?

How do you figure out what to do?

This is such a loaded question because many of us (like my past self!) may read that and say…I have no idea.

Or you read that and you eye roll. You’re not sure how that helps you figure out anything, but really, it’s your first step in clarity.

So ask yourself these types of questions:

  • What am I good at?
  • What can I do very easily?
  • What do people ask me all of the time?
  • How do I help people?

Step 2: Talk to as many people as you can

This is where starting where you are comes in.

Talk to people you know. Get out in your local community. Offer to help people. If you have an audience already, then talk to your most engaged people on the phone.

(Note: This is just a genuine conversation about why they come to you, how you help them, what they could use more help with. This is NOT any type of sales call or pitch.)

Building a coaching business step 2- talk to many people

Pat Flynn has a great quick read called, Will it Fly. If you’re in this stage where you have a biz idea then I recommend giving this book a read.

Basically, you want to talk to people who are your ideal clients. This is just to LISTEN. Listen more than talk. Ask them what they are struggling with, what they’ve tried before, what has worked and then not worked, and what kind of help do they think they need. Take notes!

Where can you find these people?

  • In-person
    • Your friends + family (ONLY people who fit the bill of people you want to help + work with)
    • Your local community
  • Social media: Give content that your people need for free. Give it to them where they are with no ask or requirements.
  • Collaborations: Do you know anyone that has an audience of people that could benefit from hearing more about you?
  • Your website: Are you posting relevant content your perfect customers would want to consume? Even if you’re not getting much traffic to your website right now this is great social proof.
  • Facebook ads: This is for more advanced biz owners. This is an amazing tool you can use to quickly grow your audience. HOWEVER, do not use Facebook Ads unless you understand your sales flow.
Pro-tip: Most people just want to be heard and have what they’re saying acknowledged. If you can be a great listener, than that is a great first step.

Step 2: Build your income

After you talk to five to 10 people, see how you can help them in any way possible. This is your time to just be helpful.

We can get into the comparison trap here and want to make it big right away. It’s easy to see others and want to charge $2k right away even if you have little to no experience.
Building a coaching business step 3- build your income
Your job in this stage is to help people, see what you love doing, bring in a little money, and make tweaks to what you’re doing. This is your learning stage. This is where you are helping people, getting results, gather testimonials.

When you’re getting started it can be scary to put yourself out there. We can feel weird about offering to help or wonder what we have to offer. But remember, if you have any more expertise than the person you’re trying to help, you have something to offer.

You don’t have to be the BEST at what you’re doing, you just have to be the best person to help them at that time.

What to do:

  • Use this stage to gather experience.
  • Be extremely helpful.
  • Listen to what people need help with.
  • Figure out who you like working with.
  • Keep it lean. You don’t need to invest in expensive or fancy tools at this stage.
  • Just START. Get out there.

What not to do:

  • Spam your friends and family.
  • Use Facebook Ads if you don’t know what you’re doing
  • Procrastinate by creating fancy imagery or websites.

You may have to start helping people out for free or for less money than you would like, but that is OKAY!

That is how you figure out your process and develop a framework for how you work. Every step of the way you should be documenting what you’re doing and gathering testimonials and quotes from the people you help.

Figure out a clear way to bring in some money by helping people. I recommend people start with 1:1 work because that will give you great results and testimonials.

If you have an audience of people already, you totally can start out with a “one to many” group program or course! I recommend you do a beta group and see if people are interested in paying for your course or program before you create. Sell first, then create!

Pro-tip: My sales strategy for people I really, really want to work with, especially at the beginning, was to get on the phone with people, be extremely helpful, and at the end of the call add in a, “let me know if you need help with this more because I would love to help.”
I probably give TOO much value on a call, but it has served me well and allowed me to build trust with people.

Step 4: Build your audience

Now it’s time to grow what you are doing!

Focus on engagement over numbers. Having a large audience is great, but if you don’t have a connection with them and you’re not sure if they’re reading or consuming your content, then really, what’s the point?
Building a coaching business step 4- build your audience
It can be easy to just pump out new content all of the time, but you need to focus on creating great content that people read and take action on.

We have to move beyond vanity metrics and back into focusing on how we can help the people who are in our community.

Create a strong content engagement plan so you create value for your audience.

I like to create three types of content and one of them involves conversation starters. A lot of people dismiss this because they can seem trivial or silly, but this is where trust starts. You want to get the conversation going so they can talk to you and build trust.

If you connect with them emotionally, then they’re more willing to consume your content and want to come back to you for help.

What to do:

  • Make a content engagement plan. (Use video!)
  • Post content right on your social platforms that are helpful.
  • Create a freebie in exchange for their email list.
  • Send them weekly valuable emails.
  • Create a growth strategy plan.

There are two points that are more important than audience size:

  • Engagement
  • Results

Improving either (or both) of these metrics will have an immediate effect on your profit. This will also help you build your audience!

The last two stages can be considered a higher level. They are extremely important, but you have a great starting point here with the first four stages!

Step 5: Build your list

There are many ways you can build your list. Don’t overcomplicate it too much.

You can offer a freebie or some type of value to get on your email list. Or you can simply create a VIP list and send out updates on what you’re doing. Click the button below to get my free content workbook to help you plan out your content and grow your list.

Download the 3 Month Content Work book here.

Building a coaching business step 5- build your email list

Step 6: Build your profit

This is where we can get fancier, add in a more tweaked and optimized funnel, and scale what you’re doing. Go all-in on one product or service before you bring a new offer into the world. It can be a big mistake to put too many offers out there. Simplify to grow!Building a coaching business step 6- build your profit

Create a flow that allows people to consume your content, join your email list and work with you further. This is called the Give to Get framework.

Pro-tip: Act like most people don’t. This is a HUGE secret that’s not a secret.
Treat people like people. Be kind. Answer questions. Care.

If you want to calculate your potential profit based on three key factors, then click below.

Download Calculate Your Profit Potential here.

6 Steps to Building a Coaching Business

Extra tips on building a coaching business where your audience falls in love with you

Coaching business tip- be responsiveBe responsive

This may sound silly, but if people message you or comment on something respond back! Use their name and make sure they know that you saw their comment.

Too many people skip this step. When people join my FB group, I personally message them to say hello and thanks for joining the group. It’s literally just a message to say that. No strings, no nothing, just a conversation builder.

Coaching business tip- be relationalDon’t just be about business building, be about relationship building.

That may seem contrary to popular advice, but showing you’re a real person builds trust with your audience and gets them more invested in what you’re doing.

Of course you can set boundaries, but it’s refreshing to go beyond just the highlight reel!

Coaching business tip- have fun and be patientHave fun and be patient!

I have clients that come back three to six months later to work with me. If someone says it’s not the right time to work together, that’s cool. Many times they’ll come back because I have built a good relationship with them and make sure to connect with them not just about business, but about life as well.

Being a kind, considerate human gets you VERY far and is very overlooked!

Coaching business tip- serve firstServe first.

Don’t get caught up in all the fancy sales tactics. Be helpful. Serve your audience. Get on the phone to help more and see if they want more help.

Once you have this all down and you have a steady stream of clients coming to you, take the time to develop an exclusive framework that you can build out to take your clients through.

You can take this framework to go from 1:1 clients to group programs and courses if you’re interested.

If I had to simplify all of this right now in a quick 30-second read I would say to you: figure out what you want to do, talk to as many people as you can to see what they need help with, build an audience, and tweak your offerings along the way.

So let’s jump right in!

Take the time right now to figure out:

  • What’s your superpower?
  • Who are 5-10 people you can talk to about what you want to do?
  • How can you connect with them this week?


Start your business today

When you’ve got an idea, don’t waste your time and money building a website. Starting your business with a landing page and a email list means you can start today.

Nicole Culver

Nicole is the founder of The Social Shift, which helps women strategically build a profitable fulfilling business without the overwhelm. She helps women in the food + wellness industry, find their focus and simplify to scale their businesses. Nicole lives in New York with her husband and three girls, Olivia, Mila, and Isabel. You can connect with her over in her Facebook group, The Social Shift or on Instagram @nicoleculver.

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