The scope of the coaching industry is immense. Refer to this article about the personal coaching business in the United States. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“Marketdata estimated that the total U.S. personal coaching market was worth $1.08 billion in 2017. This grew 6.5% from the previous year. The total market was forecast to grow at a 5.4% average annual pace, to $1.38 billion by 2022. According to the research, personal coaches earned about $62,000 per year in 2015. There are an estimated 53,000 coaches worldwide. A conservative estimate of 18,000 of them operate in the US. The typical personal coach earned about $62,000 per year in the US in 2015. 68% of coaches are female.
The average annual income of coaches is from $27,100 to $73,100. Some specialty coaches can make much more, over $100,000. This estimate is from The International Coach Federation.
There is a market for coaches. Oversaturation is not the key concern for new coaches joining the market. But differentiation of their services may need a different set of skills!
A Forbes article predicts a trend “Rise of the automated coach”. It talks about how that will be key for coaches who want to differentiate themselves in the new market. Skype calls are passé.
“Coaches will engage clients through micro-learning sessions, gamification and will add value by providing clients access to content beyond their counsel,” reads the article.
Does this also translate to a thriving market online for coaches?
Research and Markets believe we will see e-learning triple to $325 billion by 2025.
So do you want to be a part of this gigantic opportunity?
Here are some statistics about the online market for coaching services.
- “The International Coach Federation boasts 53,300 members and is on a steady growth trend.
- The average income for life coaches ranges from $27,100 to $73,100. Specialty coaches can command greater than $100,000 every year.
- Growth projections for the life coaching industry are an estimated 6.7%. This will take revenue to $1.34 billion by 2022.
- 92% of life coaches remain active in the field, suggesting solid opportunities.
- Many corporations are now hiring life coaches to work with employees. This helps them avoid the stigma around mental health which still persists. In the midst of all the growth, life coaches remain unregulated. There are no state licensing requirements. This suggests freedom of practice, but also raises concerns about quality. Buyer beware.”
How many people are online? Or in other words, is it worth looking to grow your life coaching business there?
Look at the image by Statista below. In 2018, 84.1 percent of the total U.S. population accessed the internet from anywhere via any device.
*Image by Statista on projected internet usage among US residents (2017-2023).
One of the primary concerns of life coaching is the fact that good coaches are often of an older generation. Age does give them a wealth of experience. But the age group of clients looking for services are usually in the range of 30-45. So, will the older generation of coaches be able to connect with their new-age clients online? Staying abreast of the latest technology is no easy task.
Refer to this article. It shows senior residents in the US are no longer disconnected from the digital world. This goes against earlier beliefs.
The Pew Research Center notes technology adoption of Americans aged 65 and older is on the rise. As of 2018, 66 percent of U.S. seniors used the internet, up from 14 percent in 2000.
Look at this recent report by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). It shows that many Americans (aged 50 and older) are embracing technology. This helps them to stay connected with their families and the world in general. According to the AARP’s findings, 7 in 10 Americans above the age of 50 own a smartphone. Nine in 10 own either a Laptop or a Desktop PC.
Do you know which devices older Americans are currently using? And which ones they steer clear of for now. Find out in the following chart below.
Embracing technology can only enhance the process of learning in the coaching industry.
So get yourself the required training and get started!
We have so far established that there is a huge market online for your life coaching business. And that it makes financial sense for you to take your business online.
But apart from finances, are there any other benefits to coaching online?
Yes! Find out more about the pros and cons of different coaching models in my earlier blog post. I have discussed how online coaching provides flexibility with almost zero overhead costs. There are several ways of making profits. These can be through a live session or workshop, writing an e-book or creating podcasts.
Take the example of Bari Tessler. She is a successful coach, financial therapist and the Founder of The Art of Money. She became successful after opting to take her business online post the birth of her child.
Here are the top benefits of coaching online:
- The first benefit is affordability. With zero overhead costs, the pain of setting up your business is less when you take your business online. This not only benefits you but also helps you attract more budget-conscious clients. Once you have a name in the market, use the same logic to look for flexibility. Be more selective about clients you want to work with.
- You are your own boss. Being online allows you complete flexibility to set up your work preferences. You can choose to work according to the needs of a particular country/cultural sphere or even time zone.
- The sky is the limit. Your reach is so much wider when you seek to establish your business online. Without even stepping out of home you have the ability to connect with people all over the globe. And make an impact! And you never ever need to travel to these places to secure your payment or your next client.
- No negotiations for payment. Automated payment makes the life of an online coach that much simpler. Gone are the days of reminding your client to pay you before they leave the meeting. Now, the payment process happens in the background leaving you to focus on coaching.
Since the online world is still expanding and developing, the possibilities are endless. All you need to do is plan right and build your life coaching business online.
Is there still something holding you back from exploring a coaching career online? Ask yourself:
- Are you ready to cater to people from different countries? They may be across different time zones, having varied cultural sensitivities?
- Are you well versed with the latest technology? For example, in some countries of the Middle East, Skype is not allowed. Have you familiarized yourself with voice calling limitations and rules? If not, now would be a good time to find out the rules and regulations about your target market.
- Are security threats holding you back from a new experience?
- Do you need to spend more money on marketing the online life coaching business?
If so, then tackle those fears. Do not let your fears stand in the way of success. For example, look at a previous blog post I wrote. I hope it will answer the last question about marketing your coaching business. Marketing your online coaching business is important but it need not be expensive.
Do you still want to miss out on the immense scope of coaching online?
If you are still reading this, it means you have decided to give online life coaching a try, as you should. So, I guess the next step for you to understand is how you can become an online life coach and run a successful business.
First, let us understand the primary reasons that most people opt for a life coach. And look at why they are now considering online coaching.
Wikipedia defines coaching as a form of development in which a coach… supports a client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal. He does this by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Sometimes, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people. One has more experience and expertise than the other. He offers advice and guidance as the latter learns. But coaching differs from mentoring by focusing on specific tasks or objectives. Mentoring involves more general goals or development.
Life coaching is the process of helping people identify and achieve personal goals. A coach does this by developing certain skills and attitudes. Life coaching deals with issues such as work-life balance and career changes. It may occur outside the workplace setting.
As you can see, the benefit of employing a life coach is to better the quality of life for a client. The results are then visible as they permeate through every aspect of the client’s life. A study released by the ICF in March 2009 cites the top 5 things someone looks for in a coach. These are confidence, rapport, compatibility, coach’s approach, & coach certification.
Usually, life coaches work with clients to do the following:
- Help them identify and set goals
- Understand challenges
- Overcome obstacles
- Make changes or shifts which relate to habits and behavior patterns in their lives
The coach works not as a teacher but as a partner with the client.
This is how coaches usually differ from therapists.
Unlike therapists, coaches do not counsel or analyze the past. They use the learning from the past to lead the client towards overcoming challenges.
Look at this Harvard Business Review article. It shows what coaches can achieve and how coaching borrows from therapy.
Coaching is also different from mentoring. Coaching focuses on understanding behavior patterns and making improvements to resolve current problems. But mentoring focuses on the client’s growth and development. It aims to develop an individual not only for his or her current role but also for the future.
- 99% of the people interviewed liked working with a life coach.
- 96% would do it again.
- 65% said it helped improve work performance.
- 80% said it helped improve self-confidence.
Look at what the biggest names from every industry say about the importance of life coaches:
Oprah Winfrey: “I remember the very first time we had a life coach on the show. She shared with our audience a list. And in the audience women booed her when she said put yourself at the top of that list. What she meant was … honor yourself. Stop the crazy mind chatter in your head that tells you all the time that you’re not good enough.”
Serena Williams: “Life is so much bigger than tennis. It’s the basic things in the little steps of life that we overlook. You should be the happiest person alive because that’s a gift in itself and Tony (life coach) helped me realize that.”
Bill Clinton: A life coach “has not only the gift to inspire. But he teaches the most important lesson that every individual has to learn about living. Which is that you have choices in every circumstance. And you have to make up your mind on how you will respond to whatever … happens, as well as how you will make new things happen.”
Bill Gates: “Everyone needs a coach. We all need people to give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
What is a coaching niche?
Some of the popular coaching types are:
- Personal (career, finance, health, life, and relationship coaches), Religious
- Business (executive)
There are several niches within these wider categories. These can be a life coach, motivational coach, etc.
Within life coaching, there may be several specialties that one may choose. This depends on one’s aptitude, skills, and preferences.
Do you think a niche is important in your coaching business? Read my previous blog about the importance of finding your niche. Also, find out how I scaled up my business even after suffering huge losses to the tune of $100,000. I could do this only by figuring out what my niche should be!
There are several articles online on how to launch an online life coaching business. But the truth is nobody has one magic pill to provide.
The way to launch an online life coaching business is the same as launching any small business online. You can read about the steps provided in this article and come up with a customized version of what works for you.
Here are some of the top things to remember while taking your life coaching business online:
- Assess, understand and offer. The principle behind this first step holds true of all businesses whether online or not. Find a need in the market and fill it. First, conduct a self-assessment. Then complete a detailed survey of the target audience. You should also have in-depth knowledge of what your competitor is offering. It is important to streamline your offering. This will help you differentiate yourself in the market. What do you have to offer that no one else can? Is it knowledge or experience/understanding of the target market? Are you offering flexibility in timings or prices? It is tempting to offer lower prices to win over initial customers. But you need to be cautious that you do not get stuck in the price-lowering cycle. The way to avoid this is simple. Plan your business and build a profile of a customer in your head. This will help you target your target audience.
- Let technology work for you. Enjoy the services of marketing platforms such as Facebook ads and email marketing. Design an easy-to-use website and maintain a blog to establish your credentials online. Advertise your services on your own social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram. Search engine optimization will also help to drive traffic to your website.
- Collaborate and network with other bloggers. Reach out to bloggers who have a ranking close to or higher than yours (Alexa.com will help you find out). Then ask for a link swap or mention. Ask them to advertise their website or blog link on your blog and vice versa. Also, post comments on other’s blogs in your niche area or on blogs with the same audience.
- Build credibility. Establish a reputation for yourself as a goal-oriented life coach. A smart, result-oriented client will do proper research before hiring you. So ensure your internet trail is clean and your credibility is visible. Seek reviews and recommendations from ex-clients. Ask if they can refer you to prospective clients or post a recommendation on LinkedIn. Follow up with customers and ex-clients via email or their preferred online platform. Some helpful tools are:
- RSS feeds
- YouTube videos
- Facebook and Instagram posts
- LinkedIn articles
- Set realistic goals. Irrespective of the model you choose, approach it with a measurable goal in mind. One measurable goal may be to achieve a certain number of monthly visitors to your website.
- Protect your business. A common reason for choosing not to take a business online is often a fear of security. This is a genuine concern. You will need to learn some basic tips on how to prevent any damage to your bank balance and online credibility. This article provides 10 tips on how to protect yourself from malware attacks.
An interesting article in Forbes on how to build a thriving online coaching business is here. It resonated with me. In an earlier blog post, I had also talked about some of the ways that I learned from my mistakes. Once I corrected my approach, my business reached a six-figure coaching business! That too, within a short time.
And now let me tell you about my journey as a way to prove that achieving success is an ongoing process. We may not meet with success right at the start. But that is why need to introspect and resurrect our business if need be.