How to Create an Online Coaching Business in 2024

First things first, who am I? Why should you listen to me?

My name is Noah. I’m a performance coach, previous gym owner, and now I work on the Superset team.

Superset is an NYC-based startup helping fitness coaches simplify their business and deliver workout programs to clients. I have nothing to sell you; I’m just trying to help, from one coach to another.

With that, let’s dive into how to create an online coaching business in 2024.

Are You a Coach?

If you haven’t already, become a coach or personal trainer. And get credentialed. Or go to school. People will respect your word more, and it will be easier to market your services. Not to mention, you need to be educated to be a coach.

There are many options when it comes to choosing a certification. Before choosing one, ask yourself…

  • What kind of coaching do I want to do? (1:1, small group, classes, etc.)
  • What client(s) do I want to serve? (athletes, chess players, actors, etc.)
  • Who are the experts in my field that I can look to for guidance?

Once you’ve answered these questions, then you can proceed with finding the right certifying body to get yourself educated!

If you’re already a fitness coach, ignore what I just said and do two things: (1) become an expert if you’re not already and (2) get more experience. Both will pay dividends down the road.

Figure Out Your Offer

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

If you don’t have an idea for what service (strength training, weight loss, flexibility, etc.) you’d like to provide to clients, don’t start. It’s better to come up with an offer — that you can change later — than to spew half-hearted nothingness into the world. Get aligned on…

  • Who do you want to serve?
  • Why do you want to serve them?
  • What will you provide to this client? Be really specific.
  • How will they benefit from it?
  • What makes your service different?

The point isn’t to figure out the offer that’s going to make you a millionaire. It’s to start with something that isn’t nothing. Avoid being general when putting together your offer. It should serve one or two people max at the start, not the entire world.

Here’s a personal example:
  • I serve high-school baseball players who are looking to play at the next level.
  • I used to be a college baseball player and know a lot about what it takes to make it at the next level.
  • Strength training, conditioning, mindset coaching, and performance-based training.
  • My clients will run faster, hit balls further, be stronger, get injured less, and play at the next level.
  • I’m a former college baseball player turned performance coach specializing in baseball-specific training.

Package it Up

Now that you’ve got the who and what taken care of, now it’s time to package it up.

There are a few different options for selling your services in the online coaching world. The most popular are 👇

  • 1:1, high-ticket, high-touch, tailored to an individual, sold individually.
  • Small group training, lower-ticket, tailored to a group, sold individually.
  • One-to-many, lowest-ticket, tailored to a persona, sold on the shelf.

My recommendation is to start with 1:1 high-ticket and work your way into the other tiers (if you want). Most coaches get this backwards though. They think because they’re inexperienced they need to charge less and mass-market their services. Wrong.

It’s better to be highly specialized (“niche”) at the start. You’ll make more money quicker if you stick with it. Influencers and big time creators are the only ones who can make the one-to-many business model work right off the bat.

However you decide to package up your service, do it with the end in mind. How much money do you want to make from coaching? $100K? $1M?

Answering that will dictate which route you’ll take.

Choose a Platform

Just like any business, as an online fitness coach you’ll need certain tools to deliver your services.

I use Superset (online coaching platform) because it’s easy for me and my clients. I can create workout programs in seconds using Superset Sheets, and they release free coach resources every week (my clients love this High Protein Client Recipe Book!!!).

But, I’m a bit biased. There are many options out there. Go with the one that gives you the most confidence. You’ll need a platform to…

  • Deliver workout programs to clients
  • Accept payments and create check-ins
  • See client performance trends analytics
  • Message clients and manage them in one dashboard

Some reasons I and other coaches love Superset:

  • No client limits
  • Custom business branding
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Pre-loaded exercise video library
  • Automated payments, check-ins, and more
  • Superset Sheets is a game changer for workout programming

Don’t take my word for it. Try it out yourself!

Find Your First Three Clients

Before you start charging for your services (especially if you’re brand new to coaching) you should coach 2–5 clients for free. I started with three.

Why? You’re brand new to this whole coaching thing. You need experience before you can start charging $500 to $1K+ month per client. Coaching a few clients for free is also a great way to generate testimonials, which is never bad for business.

Here are some tips for finding your first three clients:

  • You probably already know them — reach out to friends, family, coworkers, etc. Since these people already know you, they’re more likely to say yes and put in a good word.
  • Don’t train your mom if you’re not trying to train moms. This somewhat goes without saying, but try to find lookalikes in your network for the persona you want to serve.
  • Just ask — be direct, clear, and concise. People will say yes, you’re offering something to them for free for gosh sakes.

Once you have a handful of clients to test your offer with, go all in. Be the coach. Don’t be an imposter. You’re helping another person live a healthier life. That is noble and should give you confidence.

Use this time to learn, ask questions, and level-up as a coach.

Here’s another pro tip

Find a few other online coaches you can learn from. Offer to buy them coffee in exchange for their time or ask if they want to workout with you IRL. Most fitness coaches like working out lol. It’s a great time to talk shop while getting fit.

Get Really Really Good

Photo by Ambitious Studio* — Rick Barrett on Unsplash

The best coaches (and those who make the most money) are really really good at their jobs.

Coaching isn’t a walk in the park. You don’t get to press a button and be good. You’ll have to work at it constantly. That means continuously learning, either on your own by reading books, articles, and peer-reviewed research, or enlisting the help of a mentor.

If you want to be indefensible (as a coach and business), keep learning. Even if you think you know everything about a field, you don’t. Assume you know less than you do and seek to gather information and experience at a rapid pace. It will give you and your business a competitive moat.

Setup a Sales Funnel

This is one of the biggest challenges for coaches — getting new clients and channeling them to an offer. Luckily, I’m here to make it easier. Here are the steps:

  1. Set up a way for clients to apply for coaching with you (Superset does this for you! They have a 1:1 coach application form).
  2. Create a free resource for prospective clients (make sure it aligns with your target persona). Watch this video if you need help. Share resources on social media to qualify prospective clients and provide free value.
  3. Collect testimonials from your clients (for new coaches, ask your free clients after a couple weeks). Superset has a free testimonial template!
  4. Post testimonials online (social, email, etc.) with CTA to apply for coaching with you (your 1:1 coach application form).
  5. Share your coach application link in any of the content you create on social media. Text it to friends. Do cold outbound.
  6. Once someone applies, qualify them: “Do I want to work with this person?”
  7. Convert them to a paying client. Don’t know how? Read Alex Hormozi’s $100M Offers.
  8. Repeat steps 3–7.

A moment for one of my favorite quotes on advertising and marketing:

“Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise.” – Ted Turner

Market Yourself and Your Services

There’s no right way to market yourself or your business. It’s entirely dependent on the outcomes you’re trying to achieve.

My two cents: Become an expert in whatever niche you’re in. Share your thoughts online for free. Start a newsletter if you’re into that. Write about your experiences coaching. Do anything that shows you have experience and know what you’re talking about. Slowly build an audience and point people to your sales funnel (AKA, your free opt-in and coach application form).

DO NOT. And I repeat, DO NOT blindly advertise your services on social media without any real credibility. You’ll burn out and your followers won’t like it.

Build Your Business Your Way

Lastly, whether you take my advice or not, build your business your way. Don’t copy me or anyone else verbatim.

The only way you’ll survive in coaching is if you are authentic. People won’t choose you as a coach because of your degree or certification, they’ll choose you because of you!

Have fun with building your online coaching business in 2024.

Become the fitness trainer you’ve always wanted to be today!

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