Think you’d be a good coach, but you’re not sure how to get your first coaching client? This is something that every coach goes through when they start a business.
The good news: there is definitely a playbook you can follow to get started.
Even better? We wrote it down right here for you to read.
Here’s what you can do to attract your first paying customer.
One of the cardinal sins of business and marketing is trying to be everything to everybody. Nobody believes coaches who say they can solve everyone’s problems, and rightfully so.
That means you need to pick a coaching niche. There are a fair number them to choose from:
If you’ve thought about this for a while then you probably have one in mind already. If not, ask yourself these questions to narrow down your selection:
Also consider these questions carefully:
Don’t jump into advertising at this point—you don’t need that yet. What you do need is to let everyone in your network know that:
Your friends and family are the most likely to be your biggest supporters and sources of referrals, and they won’t charge you for it, either.
Don’t worry about trying to turn them into clients. Having that double-sided relationship would probably make you both feel awkward. Instead, simply ask them to let people know within their networks.
You never know who has a coworker, a friend, or a partner that’s looking for a coach. They’ll come to you when they’re ready, so it’s important for them to actually be aware of you.
It’s easy to let this part slide when feeling the anxiety of starting a new side hustle, but don’t skip it. This is a huge step in getting your first coaching client.
A lot of service businesses lose clients because it’s a hassle to get an appointment. Use this to your advantage with a self-service scheduling tool (we built one into Azingo to make it easy).
Instead of making leads email back and forth for availability, you can just send them the link to your calendar. They’ll select the time that works best for them, and the meeting link generates automatically for both of you.
It reduces friction and invites people to make introductions. They don’t have to turn this into an errand in their mind, either.
Here’s how to set it up effectively:
You can put this link everywhere to attract clients:
This works particularly well with the next part of the strategy: offering a free coaching session.
Nobody likes losing money, or any amount of risk, really—that’s human psychology 101. It’s why so many businesses adopt a try-before-you-buy approach.
You can use this tendency to get your first coaching client by offering a free introductory coaching session.
Here’s why it works:
Most people have started using video conferencing software for sales and networking since early 2020 anyway, so it’s quite normal to meet this way.
Even better: record the session and send them the video file. The more times they watch it, the more likely they’ll be to come back for another session.
Azingo users can record those sessions automatically and store them in a personalized client portal, too. Nothing says “professional coach” quite like your own personal area with resources made specifically for the client.
This is when you can start building your personal brand in public. Start by narrowing down your elevator pitch to a single sentence (which you can paste into your social media profiles).
This elevator pitch also includes:
Get this down pat and you’ll stick in people’s minds much more effectively when you network.
And here’s what you can do to start networking:
You’ll get more and more attention as you put yourself out there into the community. The trick is to do it consistently, though. Attending one event per month is 10 times better than attending 5 events in one month and then not dropping it.
Personal branding is about building rapport with potential clients at regular intervals to gain their familiarity and trust.
Pro tip: Start with one social media channel to grow your audience. Trying to stay on top of multiple social channels will pull you in too many directions at once. Choose one, commit, and turn it into a daily habit.
Once you’ve started building up your local network and your digital audience, you can invite them to webinars.
These are online seminars designed to accomplish two things:
Keep the webinar free and make it exceptional. You don’t need to worry about holding back knowledge, since coaching isn’t about “how-to” information (remember: it’s about providing insights, new perspectives, and accountability).
Follow up with everyone who attended. This is where you can offer that free one-on-one session and answer specific questions in greater detail.
Pro tip: Hold an FAQ segment near the end of the webinar so that you can make more personalized follow-ups with attendees afterward.
You can also record the session and have all the attendees create an account to access the recording in their personalized client space, even if they haven’t formally become clients yet. This brings them closer to signing up with you.
If you’re doing everything on this list to get your first coaching client, then you’ll have leads coming in from several sources:
Some of them will take you up on your free session, some won’t. But you can entice all of them back to speak with you by holding casual office hours once per week.
These aren’t necessarily one-on-one sessions. They are casual, no-commitment forums where people can come to speak with you without an appointment.
It builds good will in the community and lets people know that you’re approachable, which are (arguably) prerequisites for being a coach.
Don’t worry if people want to keep their conversations private—that’s actually a good thing. When that happens, just set up an appointment for them and transition them into your free coaching session, where they’ll experience your coaching to the full extent.
And you can do it in minutes with Azingo.
Figuring out how to get your first coaching client is a crucial step in starting your side business—there’s no business without clients, after all.
Start with your niche, your network, and your personal brand. Make it easy for people to book your time, then work your trade.
You’ll land that client in no time.
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