10 Reasons Why Online Coaches Fail to Build a Sustainable Business

Updated: Feb 20

Building my coaching business was far more difficult than I had imagined. All of my previous businesses had been built in large part by word-of-mouth and content marketing. It all came together organically. I quickly discovered that communicating the results I provided as a coach was far more complex than explaining what I did as a mortgage banker, wholesale distributor, or virtual business services provider. Many of the coaches I’ve worked with over the years have faced similar challenges. If you’re struggling to get your coaching business off the ground and create a viable business with a sustainable income, you’re not alone. Check out these 10 reasons I’ve seen coaches fail:


#1 - Lack of attention to sales and marketing


Coaching is a marketing business first and foremost. Most successful coaches spend up to 70% of their time marketing and selling. It can be exhausting if you’re not getting results. 60% of coaches don’t make it past their fourth year because they don't show up consistently in this area of their business.


#2 - No strategy

Many new coaches have the expectation that they will make one announcement to their friends and family and their coaching business would fill up with paying clients. In 99% of the cases, that plan doesn’t pan out. You need a strong business plan that outlines the action you need to take to get from point A to point B. Daily consistent action must be taken to turn the plan into reality.


#3 - Not establishing a track record

Asking for testimonials can be intimidating at first. Many people struggle to obtain social proof to show what it’s like to work with them. Mindset can prevent some people from self-promoting. It can feel awkward and unnatural. Like anything else, practice will make this business-building skill more comfortable.


#4 - No niche

New coaches believe they can help everybody. The problem with this belief is that their messaging gets muddied down so that it doesn't resonate with anyone. In order to attract potential clients, coaches need to be very targeted in their messaging. Knowing precisely who you're talking to will help you create better content.


#5 - Inclusions versus benefits

Many coaches focus on the inclusions in their programs rather than the benefits or results their clients will gain by working with them. While inclusions may be needed to describe the experience, clients really want to know if working with you will create an ROI. (Knowing your clients’ buying motivator will help here.)



"Courage allows the successful woman to fail and learn powerful lessons from the failure. So that in the end, she didn’t fail at all." – Maya Angelou


#6- Sales skills

Most coaches don’t have a sales background and lack selling skills and strategies. Working with a sales coach can give them a leg up in converting leads into paying clients.


#7 - Busy vs productive

Many new coaches are excited about what they do and want to share it with everyone they come into contact with. Unfortunately, they end up wasting precious time talking to the wrong people and filling their time with non-revenue producing tasks. Asking if activities will get you closer to your goal will help you prioritize how you spend your time and energy.


#8 - Avatar

They lack important details about their avatar so their content isn’t hitting a home run. It’s critical to know and understand the problem your potential clients need to be solved, and why it’s important to them. Their goals are tied to their values so it is essential to know what will motivate them to take action.


#9 - Automation

Most coaches aren’t tech-savvy so they complete many routine tasks manually. This cuts into their coaching time. When you consider that sales/marketing/admin duties can take up to 80% of a coach’s time, it’s imperative to utilize apps that will increase productivity through automation.


#10 - Pricing

This is an area that can sink your ship. If you’re undercharging for your services, people will assume that you’re not the expert they need to solve their pain points. Pricing can be tricky because it is all tied to perceived value and how well you communicate that value to your potential clients.

You can't do it alone. Invest in a coach or mentor and hire to fill the gaps in your skillset.

If you’re serious about growing a sustainable coaching business you need to focus on the right things. It is easy to confuse being “busy” with being “successful.” There are many ways to define success, and that is something you need to decide for yourself, but at the end of the day it needs to be quantifiable and measurable.


By the way, I wanted to let you know that I’ve opened up 10 30-minute complimentary strategy sessions in my coaching calendar in March to help get you on the right track for 2022. If you’re feeling stuck and need some help creating a strategy to build momentum, schedule a call.

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