Over the years, the concept of coaching has evolved. A good number of coaches no longer see coaching as a mere side hustle.  They now see it as a business that has the capacity to make them professionally fulfilled and financially comfortable. However, there are coaches who are yet to embrace this reality.

On a weekly basis, I come across brilliant and talented coaches. They love what they do and they enjoy helping people solve problems. However, for most of these coaches, they don’t seem to have enough and consistent flow of high-paying clients. They struggle with the feast and famine syndrome. Some even have the notion that being ICF certified is a guarantee to success as a coach. Frankly, there’s more to being a successful coach than all that.

One of the things I realize that has been a major problem is their perspective of coaching. Most coaches see coaching as a side hustle. Hence, they just practice coaching for the love of it. If they can just help someone solve their problem and hopefully get a few bucks, they are happy.  However, in the long haul, bills accumulate and reality hits. Then the struggle begins.

To deal with this challenge, there has to be a mindset shift from seeing coaching as a side hustle to seeing it as a business.

Yes, it’s a business and not a side hustle.

You might be tempted to wave this off as mere semantics. But, it’s a reality that many coaches are grappling with right now.

Understanding this distinction is what differentiates coaches who have a sustainable, profitable and enjoyable livelihood from those who manage to trickle in a little cash from time to time.

Let’s look at coaching practice and coaching business for what they really are.

Coaching Practice (Side Hustle) 

Coaching practice is all about the practitioner, which is the coach. It is based on what the coach can give in the moment. Without the coach, there’s no coaching and hence, no income. If the coach decides to take a break, go on a holiday, or even take ill, the income stops. The coaching only happens when the coach is available.

Coaching Business 

Building a coaching business is about having a system in place that controls the outcome you get for your clients. This system can be leveraged and scaled up at any time. Though your brain child, it’s set up to deliver results with or without you. So if you get sick or decide to go sipping cocktails on the Caribbean Islands, the business continues to get results for your clients, while making money for you. Additionally, the system gives room for scalability. Hence, it can be grown into a multi-million dollar business.

Don’t get me wrong, a coaching business is not just about how much you want to make. The primary thing is to help clients achieve their goals or deliver great outcomes for them in their life or business. Like the Holy Bible says, seek first the kingdom of God and all other things will be added to you. The aim of running a coaching business is to attract premium clients that you can get amazing results for. The reward for that is a great income for you, and freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

How Do You Know If You’re Really Running A Coaching Business?

The following will guide you to know if you are really running coaching as a business.

  • What You Do In The Face of Discouragement 

Every coach goes through this phase at some point, especially when they are setting out in the coaching business. They come to the point where reality sets in and they realize that coaching goes beyond the desire to help people. What they do at that point is a function of their perspective on coaching.

If you see coaching as a side hustle, the next thing that follows is quitting. This is because you don’t have the drive and will to push beyond the discouragement and succeed as a coach. You only see it as something you just love doing to supplement your income, but not worth fighting for.

As a coach running a business, you are both motivated by the results you desire to get your clients as well as improving your income. Therefore, in the face of discouragement, you find the courage to push on. You don’t cower or quit. You face whatever difficulty that coaching brings your way, surmount it and even get better in your result delivery.

  • Your Commitment Level 

How much importance do you give to coaching? Is it like a second option – something you fall back to just to make extra cash on the side? Does it take precedence over other things or is it a last priority?

If there is any other thing you are doing that is more important to you than coaching, then you are just practicing your hobby. If you have another job or business that you give more attention to, and you only coach when you happen to dabble into a client, then you don’t have a business in coaching.

For someone doing the business of coaching, that’s your 9 to 5. Coaching is the reason you wake up early in the morning and stay up late at night. You put in enough commitment to see that your coaching business grows, regardless of the rising competition or discouraging factors. You hold yourself accountable to doing stuff that brings you steady flow of clients and income. For you, coaching is not a second option, it’s the ONLY option.

Let me use one of my hobbies as an analogy.

I love to play soccer. However, I can’t get the kind of results the likes of Christiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi get for their teams. For me, soccer is a hobby. But for them, soccer is a business. That is why they commit to training, learning new skills and staying fit. The results they get for their teams and their income is dependent on it.

This is how you should take coaching seriously as a business. So the question is; are you really serious about taking coaching as a business?

  • Daily Habits 

How consistent are you in taking actions that will benefit your coaching?

Coaches who just practice their hobby only wait for a need to arise before they take action. They are not easily moved to make daily moves that will place them in front of their clients. They just sit at home and hope that someone walks by and sees their signpost, or sees their untracked social media post and contacts them.

The approach is different if you are running a coaching business. On a daily basis, you do things that make a positive impact on your business. You look out for ways you can improve in your service and delivery. You map out better strategies that help your clients get better results.

  • Attitude to Credentials 

Let me tell you something, if you are carried away by the number of credentials you have as a coach, then you are just in the coaching practice. The credentials are good, but they mean nothing if you don’t have a thriving coaching business.

The business end of coaching places focus on attracting clients that you can get results for rather than shoving credentials down their throat. If you apply the right business principles in your coaching, you will succeed, with or without credentials.

The credentials are good. If you can get them, do. However, focus on how to get great results for your clients, taking them from where they are to where they want to be. That’s the basis for a successful coaching business. The credentials will pale into insignificance, if you have a thriving coaching business. On the flip side, the credentials won’t come to your rescue if you can’t back it up with great results.

It’s Time to Make a Shift 

Like I said earlier, this whole thing might seem like semantics. However, it might be the reason you aren’t making headway as a coach.

Until you begin to see coaching as a business, you will continually be limited in your thinking and efforts. You will keep hoping that another client comes after the last one to keep the coaching roster going and money trickling into your bank account. That’s frustrating.

If you are just practicing your hobby, your focus is solely on the sessions you have with the droplets of clients you get. You don’t have strategic planning, effective marketing and business models you can leverage to run a successful business.

To give you a complete package, I will quickly run down a few things you can do to build a thriving coaching business.

  1. Get a Unique Coaching Specialty: Take the time and find a unique problem that you can provide solution to. Use it and draw up your unique selling proposition (USP). This is what will bring the right clients to you.
  2. Create a Life-Changing Program: The coaching business has moved from the one-on-one session-based system to a more advanced approach. You should have a program that has detailed steps that your clients can follow and get solution to their problems. (Read: How to Create Life Changing Outcomes for Your Clients)
  3. Target the Right Clients: Don’t just make posts and drop on social media or spend money doing unnecessary outbound advertisement. It will only bring unqualified clients that will take you back to the place you are coming out from (hobby zone). Know who your ideal client is and where they hangout. Use the right Ad platform to target them and with content that appeal to their needs and interests.
  4. Use Effective Marketing to Get Your Ideal Client: All your marketing processes must be on point. The competition in the business is high. So, your marketing must be right if you will stand a chance of getting a consistent flow of your ideal clients. Your marketing should always be about your clients and your clients alone. Put them first in everything you do – from your ads, to your emails, webinars, content etc. (Also Read: Building an Effective Marketing System That Gets Results)
  5. Build Trust and Credibility: Host webinars where your ideal clients will come and see what you have to offer. Deliver so much value that you will leave them with no option than to trust in your ability to deliver. When this happens, enrolling them as clients will be a lot easier.

If you’ve made up your mind to make a shift and get down to the business end of coaching, then we can help you.

Click here or use the button below to schedule a breakthrough session with us. You’d be talking to one of our business strategists that’ll help you make a successful shift.