Are you wondering whether you should start an online coaching business, and how to do so in the most effective way? The online landscape makes it possible for you to reach thousands of people who are seeking the services of life coaches, financial coaches, career coaches, wellness coaches, and gurus in other fields.
Setting up an online coaching business is a smart move in 2023 as you can service more clients and maximize your revenue. But with the online coaching sphere being competitive, you need to make sure you take all the right steps to launch your business the right way so that you can attract clients and stand out.
In this comprehensive step-by-step guide, we take you through the process of setting up your own online coaching business and explain why the best way to do so is by using WordPress and a Learning Management System (LMS) plugin called Sensei LMS.
Online vs offline coaching
You might be brand-new to the coaching scene, or you might be an experienced coach trying to scale your business. Whatever the case, you’ll need to decide whether to focus on offline or online coaching. Both have their own pros and cons, so it’s important to understand the differences between them.
Offline coaching can be a great option for certain types of coaches, such as fitness coaches who need to track their clients’ physical progress. In-person coaching can also be more effective for building trust with clients, as they may be more likely to invest in your services if they feel they can connect with you on a personal level. Additionally, offline coaching can be a great way to build a network of clients in your local area through word-of-mouth recommendations.
However, offline coaching can also have its downsides. For example, you may be limited in the number of clients you can reach, and your revenue may be more limited if you’re not able to scale your business.
On the other hand, online coaching can be a great avenue for coaching who want to reach a wider global audience, especially if you sell your services as online courses that your clients can access any time and go through at their own pace. Selling online courses makes it easier for you to generate passive income, and you’ll have more time to work on marketing and scaling your business as well as building new courses.
Depending on your business model you can easily upsell your services such as by offering face-to-face coaching sessions in addition to your courses, or personalized check-ins with clients who want that service. And if you want to offer such check-ins or other meetings, online coaching allows for more flexibility in scheduling and availability for clients, as they can access your services from anywhere at any time.
That’s not to say online coaching is generally easier, or the right choice for everyone. The main downside to online coaching is that it’s more competitive so you need to work extra hard to stand out in your chosen field. Additionally, online coaching may be less personal than offline coaching, However, as we’ve seen above you can still include personalized elements in your online coaching, such as one-on-one video calls, phone calls, or email support.
How to start an online coaching business in 8 steps
Starting an online coaching business can be a daunting task, but with the right plan and tools in place, it can be a highly rewarding and profitable endeavor. In this section, we’ll take you through the eight key steps to setting up your own online coaching business. From defining your coaching niche and creating a business plan to building your website and launching your courses, we’ll cover all the essential elements you need to know. With our step-by-step guide, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to start your own successful online coaching business. So, let’s get started!
1. Learn more about your market
Before diving right into starting your online coaching business, it’s important to take the time to learn more about your market. Even though you’ve likely identified your field, you need to make sure you’re up to date on the latest trends, events, and market needs. This will help you to create a business that is tailored to your target audience, and that stands out in a crowded field.
Here are some key steps to take in order to learn more about your market:
- Understand the latest trends happening in your chosen field. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your area of expertise, as this will help you to create a business that is relevant and attractive to your target audience. Take the time to read industry publications, attend relevant conferences, and stay connected with other experts in your field.
- Research key players who are offering online coaching services. Understanding who your competition is and what they are doing well will help you to identify areas where you can differentiate your business. Take a look at their websites, social media accounts, and marketing materials to see what strategies they are using to attract and retain customers.
- Look at the latest market research and studies. There is a wealth of information available that can help you to understand your target audience better. Look for market research reports, surveys, and other studies that have been conducted in your field. If possible, conduct your own research to get a deeper understanding of the pain points of your potential customers, and how you can help to address them.
An example of looking at trends can be found with Sensei customers. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a huge increase in people looking for remote online English classes:
Sensei user Woodward English was well placed to benefit from this increased demand. Teacher Rob Woodward has been teaching English since 1997 and teaching English online since 2003.
Like Rob, by taking the time to learn more about your market, you’ll be well on your way to creating an online coaching business that stands out and resonates with your target audience.
2. Work on your USP
Once you have a solid understanding of the market you’re operating in, it’s time to focus on your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your USP is what sets you apart from other online coaches and is the key to attracting and retaining customers.
Consider the following points when developing your USP:
- Unique value: What can you offer your customers that other coaches can’t? Specializing in a specific niche can help you stand out and attract a specific target audience. For example, if you’re a nutrition coach who specializes in helping underweight clients gain weight in a healthy way, you’ll have a unique angle that sets you apart from other nutrition coaches.
- Ideal client: Who is your ideal client and what problems can you solve for them? Understanding your target demographic and their pain points is essential for creating a successful USP. Once you know who your ideal client is, you can tailor your services and marketing efforts to attract them.
- Credentials: What are your credentials and how can you share them with your potential clients? Certifications, experiences, and case studies can help establish credibility and trust with your target audience. Make sure to highlight your credentials on your website and in your marketing materials.
3. Map out your services
The services you offer should align with your target audience, so there’s no one formula that works. You should also bear in mind that creating an online course will require a lot of work and could be costly depending on your field. For example, if you’re a fitness coach then you’ll need to rent a gym or gym equipment. If you’re a life coach, you can likely shoot videos comfortably in your own home. In either scenario, you may prefer to hire the services of a videographer who can make sure your course looks professional.
If you’re serious about your online coaching business, then the investment is worth it. Not only will it be convenient for you to have an online course that generates passive income for you, but it’s more importantly more convenient for your clients, who can access your course at any time and learn at their own pace.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should only offer online courses. Depending on your field and business mode, you may consider alternative services or add-ons to your courses. For example:
- If you sell training courses to businesses or employees, you could look into group workshops as additional training.
- Additionally, you could offer online consulting at premium prices to project managers or business owners.
- If you are a fitness or career coach, you can offer one-on-one coaching sessions to track your clients’ progress.
4. Create your website on WordPress
If you want to start an online coaching business, then you’ll need a website! This is essential because it will be the main platform for people to learn about you and why you’re a great coach for them. You can talk about your credentials, what problems you can solve for your customers, and how you do that.
Furthermore, you can also offer your coaching services directly on your website, without having to resort to any third-party course platforms or online coaching platforms that have monthly costs and take commissions on your sales!
We recommend WordPress as the best content management system for online coaches. Not only is it easy to create a website using a well-designed theme, but you can add almost any kind of functionality you could think of using plugins.
To create a website on WordPress, you’ll need to start by setting up a website on a managed WordPress host like Pressable or WordPress.com. These hosts provide an easy-to-use platform for building and managing your website, and often offer additional features like security and performance optimization.
Next, you’ll need to choose a WordPress theme for your website. A theme serves as the foundation for your website design and includes all the templates you need to create pages. There are many free WordPress themes available, such as Course, which can be a great choice for online coaches.
Once your theme is set up, you’ll need to add a few key plugins to your website. One of the most important is WooCommerce, a free plugin that allows you to sell your services through your website. This plugin turns your site into an eCommerce platform, making it easy to set up payment processing, product pages, and more.
Another important plugin to consider is an LMS, or Learning Management System, plugin. This will allow you to set up courses on your site, which can be a great way to reach multiple clients at once and earn a passive income. There are many LMS plugins available for WordPress, so it’s worth doing some research to find one that best suits your needs.
5. Create courses with an LMS Plugin
As an online coach, creating courses is a crucial step in your business. While WordPress is a great platform to build your website on, it doesn’t have the functionality to create courses by default. That’s where an LMS plugin comes in. One of the most recommended options is Sensei LMS, developed by Automattic, the team behind WordPress.com and Jetpack.
Sensei LMS offers a wide range of features that will help you create stunning online courses, especially if you opt for the Sensei Pro plan. Some of the most important features include:
- Sensei Blocks: Interactive multimedia blocks that you can add to your lessons, such as interactive videos and flashcards. This will make your courses more engaging and interactive for your students.
- 7 types of questions that can be automatically or manually graded, which makes it easy to create quizzes and assessments for your students.
- Groups and cohorts: This is a great option if you’re selling your courses to businesses or bigger institutions that will purchase multiple seats for your course.
- Certifications: You can create and award certifications to students who complete your courses, which can be a great way to build credibility and attract more students.
- Messaging: A messaging system that allows you to communicate with your students directly, which can be a great way to build a community and provide support to your students.
- A distraction-free learning mode: This mode allows students to focus on their learning without any distractions.
- Integration with WooCommerce, so you can sell your courses as products on your website.
6. Set your pricing structure
It’s essential to strike a balance between being competitive and communicating the value of what your customers will receive from your courses. You want to ensure that your prices are not too high, as this may deter potential customers, particularly if you are not yet well-established. However, pricing your courses too cheaply may also be detrimental as it may make customers question the authority and value of what you have to offer.
To determine the right pricing for your courses, consider a few key factors. The first is the market you are operating in and the prices of similar courses offered by other online coaches. It’s also important to consider the value of what you’re providing to your customers. If you have certifications or experiences that set you apart from other coaches, you should factor this into your pricing.
Additionally, it’s important to communicate the value of your course to customers. This can be done by highlighting the benefits they will receive from taking your course, such as specific skills or knowledge they will gain, or the problems they will be able to solve.
Lastly, It’s also important to be flexible with your pricing structure and offer different options to suit different customers’ needs and budgets. For example, you could offer a basic package at a lower price point, with the option to upgrade to a more comprehensive package at a higher price. You could even offer the same price, but with the option for a one-time payment or a subscription to spread the payments over a longer period.
7. Sell your courses and services through WooCommerce
Selling your courses and services through WooCommerce is a simple and effective way to monetize your website. With the Sensei Pro plugin, you can easily set your courses as sellable products in WooCommerce. This means that customers can easily purchase your coaching plans and gain access to the course dashboard.
It’s worth mentioning that several other LMS plugins will have their own payment gateways built in directly, which means that WooCommerce is not required to sell courses. This can make selling courses with other LMS plugins a little easier, but the big advantage you get with Sensei Pro is flexibility. Because of its compatibility with WooCommerce and all official WooCommerce extensions, you can also set up membership plans as well as subscription plans.
We see this with Sensei user Science of People, who are able to sell courses with multiple payment plans thanks to the tight integration between Sensei and WooCommerce Subscriptions.
One important thing to keep in mind when pricing your courses is that you should clearly communicate the value of what your customers will be getting from your courses. This will help you to establish your authority and credibility as an online coach.
Additionally, if you offer additional services like private consultations, you may want to keep prices hidden and simply show how clients can get in touch with you to receive a quote. This allows you to offer customized pricing based on the client’s specific needs.
8. Set up a marketing and outreach plan
Once your website and courses are set up, it’s important to implement a marketing and outreach plan to attract your target audience and direct them to your website. A focused approach is key, and it’s recommended to choose a couple of social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to build your online presence. Additionally, it’s crucial to populate your site with solid SEO content to increase your chances of ranking in search engines.
If you are targeting companies or similar entities, you may want to consider reaching out to them directly to inform them of your services. This can be done through email campaigns or reaching out to decision-makers on LinkedIn.
It’s important to remember that potential customers need to see the value you can offer them. One way to do this is to offer them a free lesson in exchange for their email address. This can be a great way to build your email list and nurture leads, while also giving potential customers a taste of what they can expect from your courses.
Start your online coaching business with Sensei Pro
Building an online coaching business can be an extremely rewarding and profitable endeavor. With the ability to reach and coach clients from all around the world, and the ability to create passive income streams through online courses, the potential for success is vast.
Using WordPress and Sensei LMS as the foundation for your website is an excellent choice as it provides all the necessary features to create and sell online courses. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can set up your own online coaching website in no time.
Sensei Pro, in particular, offers advanced functionality that can take your business to the next level. With its ability to sell courses as products in WooCommerce, it is an excellent choice for anyone looking to build a professional and successful online coaching business.
With the right strategy and dedication, you can create a thriving online coaching business that can bring you financial freedom and personal satisfaction. Try out Sensei Pro today.