CREATED: 08.03.2024UPDATED: 12.03.2024

How to Start an Online Coaching Business

How to Start an Online Coaching Business

With this six-step process for monetizing coaching services, you’ll put the building blocks in place to present, market, and sell your coaching content.

Knowledge – you have it, and there are plenty of people out there who want access to it.

That desire for knowledge has been fundamental to the explosive growth of the coaching industry in recent years. Current estimates state that the industry will be worth $27.5 billion by 2026, aided by a compound annual growth rate of 7.6%, so there’s a clear message you should be receiving:

There’s money to be made in coaching – and you want to know how to start an online coaching business. Maybe you have some ideas of your own. Or maybe you need a little help selling your content from sites like BlurBay.

The specific area of coaching you choose – relationships, time management, business, and a litany of others – only matters to the degree that you need to have the expertise in your chosen niche to be a coach. What matters more is finding ways to monetize that expertise, which is where this article comes in. Read on to discover how to start an online coaching business step by step and monetize coaching services.

Step 1 – Choose an Appropriate Platform to Host Your Content

First, some background on how to build an online coaching business.

In the traditional coaching model, the coach meets their client for one-on-one sessions in which they discuss how to overcome the client’s issues. Think of individual physiotherapy sessions or meetings with a psychiatrist, and you get the gist.

That one-on-one model can still work.

But now that the web exists, there’s no reason to limit yourself to it when heading online can give you exposure to an enormous audience. Today’s coaches monetize so well (leading to the previously mentioned growth in the industry) because they take advantage of online platforms designed to help them reach more people.

Social media is the obvious one – 4.8 billion people use it as of 2023.

But in the coaching world, social media is as much a marketing tool as it is a way to monetize. You can use it to create exclusive groups or share small snippets of advice, but there’s no direct way to monetize that massive audience unless you’re putting ads on videos – a massive turnoff for a lot of people.

You need to point the people who follow you to an appropriate platform.

For some coaches, that means creating a membership website through which they can charge money for courses and content. For others, perhaps you included, it may mean choosing a platform like BlurBay, which allows you to upload videos kept behind a paywall so that anybody who wishes to view your coaching can pay for the videos they wish to see.

Regardless of which platform you choose, the simple fact is that you need to have one that allows you to monetize. That could be a platform you build yourself or one that gives you the tools to accept payments for your coaching content.

Step 2 – Define Your Audience and Their Learning Objectives

Once you have an appropriate platform, your next step is to figure out who’s going to get the most out of your message – that’s your target audience.

Learning how to start an online coaching business step by step, and understanding what your audience wants is key to monetizing your coaching services. For that, you need to build client profiles – what do your clients look like, and what problems are they looking to solve with the help of a coach? Answering those two questions gives you your selling point (you help X type of person/business to solve Y type of problem), and it feeds into the next part of this step – creating a learning objective.

In other words, what does the client get when they complete or work their way through your coaching?

For a relationship coach, that may be the ability to process and communicate their emotions properly. In business coaching, it may be a profitable business or a company that isn’t leaking due to unnecessary expenses.

Regardless of the specific outcome, it needs to be a tangible thing that solves your audience’s problem. If your audience doesn’t get a solution, they’re not going to migrate to your chosen platform and pay for your coaching.

Step 3 – Create Online Courses

how to start an online coaching business

Once you’ve taken the above steps on how to build an online coaching business, next up is building structure into your coaching.

The learning objectives you’ve created need to be supported by materials that take your customers from where they are right now to where they want to be. Online courses are the perfect way to do that.

Plus, creating courses means you can segment your coaching into different aspects, each confronting specific problems within your niche. For instance, a relationship coach may have separate courses related to communication, sex, raising children, and balancing relationships with your professional life – each monetized individually.

Other coaches may choose to divide their courses into tiers – Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced, for instance – with higher fees commanded as clients move up the tiers.

The great thing about courses is that you’re in control of how you present your content. Typically, this leads to coaches offering a combination of written courses (essentially the theory behind what they teach), videos, and even interactive sessions, such as webinars. The platform(s) you choose will play a large role in determining how you present your courses.

Step 4 – Create E-Books, Whitepapers, and Similar Supplemental Content

Beyond the structured coaching you offer within a course, supplemental materials can help your clients by reinforcing what they learn in your coaching sessions or providing access to additional information.

You don’t have to provide these supplemental materials for free.

Instead, think of them as being similar to the study aids that many companies offer to go alongside the curriculums taught in skills. So, in the case of an e-book, you could write material that expands upon some of the ideas you present in your coaching and create exam-like practice questions. This helps the reader see how well they’ve absorbed your presented information.

Alternatively, the e-books could confront specific aspects of your training in detail that go beyond what you cover in videos and conversations. And yet another route to monetizing these materials is simply to provide them as an alternative to those who might prefer reading ahead of watching videos or consuming visual content.

It’s about offering variety – give people as many routes into your coaching as possible, which helps you to monetize further later on. Sometimes, an e-book or whitepaper can serve as the magnet that attracts people to your courses by giving them a taste of what you teach, so they’re willing to look for more.

Step 5 – Make It Easy for Clients to Pay You

Let’s say you have your courses and supplemental materials ready and want to make them available to your audience. But you only accept credit and debit card payments via your website. That approach creates an immediate barrier to entry for people who may not feel comfortable giving your website their personal financial information.

It’s much better to offer several ways for people to pay.

In some cases, the platform you use does that for you. The previously mentioned BlurBay, for example, offers a trustworthy payment system, so you don’t have to worry about clients being wary. Assuming you build your own platform, use online payment processors like PayPal and Stripe. Both offer consumer protections and are established names in the industry. Thus, it’s easier for your clients to trust them and pay through them.

Furthermore, accepting payments through these online platforms protects you, too. With e-commerce businesses projected to lose $48 billion to online payment fraud in 2023, having a reliable payment processing service supports you in claiming lost income from scammers, just as it provides consumer protection to clients.

Simply put – everybody feels more comfortable when you make it easy for clients to pay you in the way they prefer.

Step 6 – Create Your Sales Conversation Process

After you’ve learned how to start an online coaching business step by step, you’re almost ready to monetize your coaching services. You have a platform to serve as your foundation. You know who you’re targeting and their desired outcomes, helping you create your course content and supplemental materials in the process. And payment methods are sorted.

But there’s still the tricky business of selling your course.

Online coaches often charge thousands of dollars for their courses – a big investment for almost any client. While some will be happy to pay that money based on the strength of your marketing materials, others need to have direct conversations with you or your team by phone or online chat to help them make the decision to pay.

So, it would help if you had a sales conversation formula.

The International Coaching Federation advises a six-step conversational process that could help:

  1. Ask the prospective client to share details about their situation. This helps establish if they’re a good fit for your coaching and reinforces the pain that led them to seek help in the first place.
  2. Avoid coaching during the call – remember that this is a sales conversation, and you’re giving your valuable content away for free if you start coaching.
  3. Ask your prospect what they believe has limited them from getting the desired results they expressed in the first step, thus giving you more insight into their story.
  4. Quiz the prospect about what they feel will happen if nothing changes in their situation, again reinforcing the scale of the problem. If the prospect has something vital at stake, they’re more likely to buy into your solution (i.e., your course materials).
  5. Establish the client’s sense of urgency in terms of whether they feel they need to take action right now or if they can wait for a while. The client likely isn’t ready to buy if it’s the latter.
  6. Finally, ask what the client’s next step is, which sets the stage for you to present your coaching as the thing they need to do.

Of course, this sales formula isn’t a specific method of monetization. Rather, it’s a way for you to gently influence your prospective clients by establishing problems, limitations, and urgency. All help the client see the impact their problem has on their life. And all, when established as part of this formula, help you to make sales, thus monetizing your coaching services.

Follow the Six Steps on How to Start an Online Coaching Business

how to start an online coaching business

Monetizing your coaching services isn’t as simple as sharing some advice on your socials and hoping that people get in touch from there. You need a platform to host your content – tangible learning outcomes that resonate with your audience. And, of course, you need content and a means to sell it, both in terms of offering easy ways to pay and having a sales process that encourages people to buy.

The six steps here on how to start an online coaching business will help you build the foundation to monetize your enterprise.

Start with finding the right platform. That may be your own website – which requires substantial investment – or a ready-made platform like BlurBay. With the latter, you can upload coaching videos for which people pay to access. With BlurBay only receiving a 5% commission from each sale made, it’s perfect for the coach who wants to get up and running while maintaining a strict budget.

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