Windfall

Good Money in Coaching – How long does it take?

Last week, an active member of my Online Coach Entrepreneurs Group asked everyone a cool, direct, question that really got all members thinking and sharing.

Jane’s question was this…

“How long did it take
before you were making good money from coaching?”

Two of our long-time, successful coaching business owners, with 14+ years experience, Mo Perkins of Mosaic Counselling and Coaching for Parents and Children, and Christine Ware, aka The Career DoctorThe Career Doctor, jumped straight in on the meaning of “Good Money”.

I’m going to paraphrase, but this is the gist:

Good Money in Coaching Is…

Being able to comfortably support yourself, to focus on your coaching business and other life interests without any other jobs/distractions.

Despite all the hype around 6-figure coaching businesses, the reality is that everyone’s situation and desires in life are different. There is no wrong or right amount of money you have to make to have a successful coaching business. Good money is what has integrity for you and must be driven by internal vales as opposed to external pressure.

Coach and have a JOB

woman contemplatingMo also said that when she started out nearly 25 years ago, she was taking on counselling/coaching clients on the side of her full time job. Gradually her JOB became part-time and and she upped her coaching work. This is also what I did when I started my first coaching business back in 2006. there is nothing worse than a starving life coach! Financial stability when you are starting out can really help you maintain your integrity while you are perfecting your craft and getting your head around business.

Another member, Michelle Swan, has figured out a way to start coaching staff within her existing full time job at an eye clinic. This is a great way to go if you can negotiate it – test the waters and gain experience all while getting a regular paycheck.

Wow!

I got so inspired with the topic (and thought you would be too) that I decided to reflect on my own story and also to reach out to more colleagues in the business. I wanted to hear what they had to say on the topic of making good money in coaching. I love what I discovered!

Coaches Tell All: The Path to Wealth

If you are new to coaching or you’ve been at it for a while, I hope the wisdom, shared in the real-life stories (below) encourage/nurture/inspire you on your path to making good money in your coaching business.

Coach the Life Coach, Tim Brownson

coachthelifecoach.com 

My answer is going to scare some coaches, but it really shouldn’t. It was about 3 years before coaching became even sustainable for me (fortunately I had a very supportive wife who had filled the revenue gap prior to then), and 5 or 6 years before I’d have dared to describe it as ‘good money’.

And the reason it shouldn’t scare new coaches is because I was a total idiot.

I literally walked out of a 6-figure salaried job on impulse and into coaching in 2005 with no plan, no clue, and no idea on what to do other than scream ‘I’m a coach!’ from the rooftops. My background in corporate sales made me believe I knew more about online marketing than I really did. But the fact is I knew just enough to think I was well informed, but not enough to succeed.

Back then there was nothing like the amount of resources available (like this one) for new coaches as there is now because coaching was still in it’s infancy.

The coaching industry is saturated, but it’s saturated with people who aren’t prepared to do the work to get where they want to be. Hopefully you’re here because you don’t fit into that group and you’re going to crush it waaaaaay sooner than I did!

Snapshot of Tim’s Path to Good Money

Time to get to good income:
3 years

Working hours:
30-50 hours/ wk, but really it varies so much. At the moment we’re in launch mode so it’s probably 40 to 50, and I’m guessing it’s normally between 30 and 40. But the truth is I don’t log my hours and don’t care. I love what I do so if I’m on Social Media at 9pm whilst sat in front of the TV I don’t tend to think of that as work even though it technically is.

Time spent each week on key tasks:
About 40% from one-on-one clients, 40% from teaching, 20% from products

The secret to my financial success:
Just admitting to myself I needed to understand online marketing if I was going to breakthrough to the kind of income I needed to make coaching sustainable.

Current income level:
100K+

Coaching Great Leaders, Dr Clare Allen

drclareallen.comClare
It took 12 months and my price doubled along the way. I realised that I was very generous with my time and so I worked out the time that I spent and then charged accordingly. I was scheduling in a 1hr coaching session but 1.5 hours was flying by, so I needed to recalculate my costs. Also clients were starting to see me as a trusted adviser on other matters, so I needed to add a weighting for this and charge accordingly.

Setting the hour rate was easy, I looked at what big companies were charging per hour for coaching and then what they actually paid the coach and that became my price. 90% of my clients re-sign with me, so the generosity is a must but you cannot leave yourself short.

I should add that my clients pay for a six session package up-front and everything is clearly spelled out, so that the expectations on both sides are clear, this evolved from experience and understanding of what it takes to really help a business transform.

Snapshot of Dr. Clare’s Path to Good Money

Time to get to good income:
1 year

Working hours:
4 hours/ wk

Time spent each week on key tasks:
20% one-to-one coaching, 50% writing, and 30% social media stuff

The secret to my financial success:
Getting the key messages and system right.

Current income level:
50-100K

Mastermind Expert, Karyn Greenstreet

mastermindgrouptoday.com

I started my coaching business in Spring of 2000 after graduating from CoachU. Within a year I was making a living profit, but that was because I was willing to work super hard at marketing, giving 30 speeches a year all over the USA, running classes, etc. I spoke at my first ICF National Conference in 2002. During that first year I worked 60 hours a week, mostly doing marketing and getting the word out. I knew persistence would pay off!

I transitioned first to “coaching-consulting” because I realized, as a small business coach, that what people wanted was my advice and my training. I knew they needed coaching, but that’s not why they hired me. Let’s face it, when you are a small business owner, much of your success comes from inside you, and that’s where coaching excels. But my clients came to me because they wanted to pick my brains about how to run a successful business (I had owned 3 businesses before I became a coach), so I changed to a Coach-Consultant. That way, I could give them what they wanted (consulting) and what they needed (coaching).

In 2004, I started to offer mastermind groups to my clients and students, and they were around 10% of my business when I first started offering them. Today I don’t offer private one-on-one coaching any more: 100% of my revenue comes from mastermind groups and teaching classes. In fact, I no longer work with small business owners on general topics. Instead, I’m completely focused on helping coaches and consultants to create and run mastermind groups as part of their own business model. I love working with groups of people, and now I can use all my skills in one place: coaching, consulting, teaching, facilitating. I feel like I’ve found my sweet spot and am fulfilled and blessed by my business.

Snapshot of Karyn’s Path to Good Money

Time to get to good income:
1 year

Working hours:
30 hours/wk

Time spent each week on key tasks:
100% groups and classes

The secret to my financial success:
Find your sweetspot.

Current income level:
100K+

The Mission Mentor, Nicola Grace

nicolagrace.com
NicolaGrace
It took me 10 months from the time I positioned myself as The Mission Mentor selling mentoring programs, to reach $100,000. But there were 18 months prior to that of me floundering around trying to figure out my brand and monetisation model as an online instructor.

It wasn’t until I started promoting mentoring programs with private mentoring options as well as the training programs that things started to flow and the cash came in regularly. The key was to get my business model and my brand aligned to all the details of my purpose.

I see too many coaches monetise coaching without that brand and purpose alignment, then struggle to make sustainable income. Get that tri-fector right and you have magic.

Snapshot of Nicola’s Path to Good Money

Time to get to good income:
2 years

Working hours:
35 hours/wk

Time spent each week on key tasks:
10 hours are with clients or mastermind groups, the rest is marketing, speaking, writing, lead generation, working on the business.

The secret to my financial success:
Alignment with brand, purpose and the right monitization model (mentoring programs + private options and training programs)

Current income level:
100K+

Lifestyle Business Coach, Heather Thorkelson

republicoffreedom.com
Heather Thorkelson
It took me about 18 months to be able to pay the bills comfortably, and just over two years to starting making a good income. And that was with a LOT of dedication. The one thing that made all the difference for me was consistency. People saw me showing up online and helping people in different ways (testing out free discovery calls, group coaching programs, and 1x1 work) every single week and I was able to build up the know, like, and trust factor that has carried my business successfully into year seven.

Now, I work about 15-20 hours a week on my coaching business with the split being about 20% one-to-one coaching, 50% writing, and 30% social media stuff. I don’t do any group coaching at the moment and have no online community that I manage. I like to keep things simple!

Snapshot of Heather’s Path to Good Money

Time to get to good income:
2 years

Working hours:
15-20 hours/wk

Time spent each week on key tasks:
20% one-to-one coaching, 50% writing, and 30% social media stuff

The secret to my financial success:
Show up consistently.

Current income level:
50-100K

Coaching Resource Provider, Benay Dyor

universalcoachingsystems.com
Benay
When I started my first coaching business in 2006 I had no clue what I wanted to do or how I was going to make my business work. I just loved personal development, had a knack for systems, and wanted to be my own boss. I figured if loved and believed in my work, I’d figure something out if I stuck with it.

For the longest time my ego really thought I had to have a traditional coaching business to be successful. As it turned out, being traditional was not my calling. But it took me years to discover that and in the process I wasted a lot of energy in the battle between my ego and my authentic self. Letting go of that attachment was a painful process.

Accepting my true nature and embracing my unique genius even though it meant going outside of the normal coaching business model has been huge for me. It seems that the more I do this (keeping my ego in check at the same time – which is tricky) the more authentic, fulfilling, easy and successful my business becomes.

Snapshot of Heather’s Path to Good Money

Time to get to good income:
4 years

Working hours:
20 hours/wk

Time spent each week on key tasks:
60% creating content and products, 15% managing team and admin, 15% social media and networking, 10% mentoring.

The secret to my financial success:
A diverse product range, with global reach, tailored to my ideal customer. Letting go of ego and letting authentic self shine (ongoing process!).

Current income level:
50 – 100K approx 85% of this is passive income

Finding Gems

I hope you’ve found a little gem in the wisdom and expertise of our awesome contributors to shake up your thinking and take your coaching business to it’s next level.

And if you are just starting out in coaching, as you can see from the examples in this article, it can take a while before you start making good money in your coaching business. It’s important to have a form of financial security while getting going. This can come from coaching along side another job, using savings from a previous job or taking on coaching/mentoring/training roles within your existing full time job.

The gem that really stands out for me is that every business owner has their own path, their own story and their own secrets to success. So you are totally free to write yours anyway you want.

9 Comments

  1. David McQuarrie

    Very interesting and varied experiences. That’s the beauty of coaching. No two coaches are ever alike, and we all have something unique to offer our clients.

    Great article, Benay.

    Reply
    • Benay

      David, I also love how every coach story is unique. We do all have our own path to follow! -B

      Reply
  2. Mo

    Great post Benay. I really enjoyed reading it and appreciated the openness and wisdom of the coaches who contributed.

    Reply
    • Benay

      Thank you Mo and thank you for your wisdom too – love your work!

      Reply
    • Benay

      Cheers Kevin!

      Reply
  3. Athena

    Thank you to all of you for being open. This is really helpful, as I continue to plug away at making this a reality.

    Reply
  4. Nicola Grace

    This is such a great concept for an article for new and launching coaches because it let’s them know what they are in for as well as gives them a measuring stick to see how well their current growth strategy is performing.

    Reply
    • Benay

      I am a huge believer that ones coaching business is not a destination – it’s is a way of life. I think this article supports that idea.
      Thank you so much for being a part of this shared story Nicola!

      Reply

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