Hello there 48 Days community! I've just recently joined this site and forum after becoming addicted to Dan's podcasts. I had already started building my coaching business when I stumbled upon Dan, and of course it was a perfect fit.
At any rate, I hope I'm not committing a forum faux pas by starting a new thread as my first post, but I wanted to give a little introduction and ask a few of my most pressing questions.
My background: I'm 23 years old, graduated college a year ago with my degree in Mechanical Engineering. I'm currently employed as a stress analyst in the aerospace industry; I do the calculations that show the plane won't fall out of the sky. It provides wonderfully for my wife and I who have been married for just over a year now, but it doesn't cater to my love of relationships and specifically advising. As soon as I discovered what life coaching could be, I knew it was for me, and so I started my fledgling business.
As I get started, I have a million questions, but I'll start with some of what I think are the most fundamental.
1. So far, I've had pretty good referrals from friends and family who I've been coaching for free as practice. How do I begin to branch out from friends and acquaintances to real, outside, paying clients?
2. Dan always talks about how he hates the pay-by-the-hour model, and after mulling it over, I think I agree. What is a fair pricing model and price to charge, for instance, my first paying client? All options you can think of would be awesome!
3. I operate a blog/website for my coaching business, www.tlanecoaching.com. I want to set up several platforms that can produce passive/residual income. As you can see, my site has ads set up, and I also have the Amazon Associates program linked on my Recommended Reading page. In addition, I'm writing a book that I will likely self-publish or publish cheaply via Amazon. The question is, should I focus on getting coaching and speaking engagements ramped up first, or should I get these sources of residual income in place so that when I begin to establish myself those sources will be available to produce income?
I'm sorry to hit you with so much, but there's so much I want to learn about all this, and I think this community will serve as a great launching point. Thanks for your help and nice to meet you!
On #3... just keep working on your site. Keep adding content, work on the design / layout, work on organizing the content. The residual income streams will come into play later. Build trust and traffic first.... then add in the affiliate links, offers, etc.
The guy that started this site http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ gave a good interview about building the site and then monetizing. They didn't put up any ads or monetize until they had 5,000 on the subscriber list, (If I remember right.) The point is... building traffic takes time and strategy. Converting visitors into paying customers comes after you have the traffic.
Someone else may have some better ideas for you.
Welcome to the community here. I commend you on getting started now and hitting the ground running. Your site looks decent. You didn't ask for this, but I recommend you drop the "we/us" stuff from your site. If it's just you, just say "I/me". At the very least, don't use both.
To find clients, keep asking for referrals and look for opportunities to volunteer your time/expertise - lead a small group at church, speak at local libraries on job searching techniques, etc. If you can afford it, hire a coach and/or go to Dan's "Coaching with Excellence" event.
What to charge? That's tricky when you're starting out. First of all, hit up your current/past clients for testimonials and referrals. Also, work on building a tribe/community online, developing a professional presence, and defining a niche. As you get non-relative/friend clients, have a set fee - maybe $250 for 2 coaching sessions and a month of limited phone/email access. Charge more if you can, and have different packages: a free initial interview to see if they want to hire you, a one-time one-hour session of $150, the lower package (above) and the big deal $2500 for bi-weekly meetings and (nearly) unlimited access for 3 months. This is just a suggestion. I have no idea what you'll be able to charge, but just don't sell yourself short. However, in the beginning especially, be willing to trade your services in exchange for connections, services (web design, photography, etc.), or testimonials.
For residual income, I think you're on the right track, though the ads may turn some people off. Again, I'd just work on building a solid tribe (check out Seth Godin's book Tribes if you haven't yet, BTW). Worry about monetizing after you have some momentum going.
It sounds like you're on your way to being a great coach. Nicely done, brother!
Here are my suggestions to help you get started:
1. Attend the Coaching wit Excellence conference - you'll learn a lot about marketing, growing your business, and expanding your business to earn income.
2. Create solid goals for the year - Decide in advance how much you want to make in a year? 50,000? 100,000? It's up to you how much you want to make. After that, divide how much you want to earn from coaching, speaking, and creating products for residual income? Once you figure that out, you can decide how many people you want to coach each month and how much you can charge each client, how often and how much speaking engagement, and how many hours and launches for products.
3. You should get a coach for yourself on starting a coaching business. Justin Lukasavage, Joel Bogess, and a lot of the 48 Days endorsed coaches can help you get started in your business and help you grow.
I hope this helps you.
Hey guys, I've been watching these responses trickle in, and I just want to say thanks for taking the time to lend me your awesome advice! I've got lots of ideas to move forward with immediately and some things to think about long-term as well.
Travis, I have some book suggestions and they are "Crush It" by Gary Vaynerchuk and "World Wide Rave" ,and How to Become a recognized Authority in your Field In 21 Days or Less". I am not sure about that last one's title but I think it ends in 21 days or less. In coaching you need credibility and one way to gain credibility is to get your work out there and make yourself a celebrity. Of course realistically,it will take quite a bit of time to establish yourself but,I'm sure you would benefit by working smart rather than hard. "Crush It" is about making money blogging with your passion. It is the best information I have seen on the topic. You could even do a video blog.