Meet Jane, a sex coach. After years of side jobs and making ends meet, Jane finally has enough clients to support her lifestyle solely through her coaching practice. No safety net. No Friday night shifts at The Keg.
From there, business really begins to boom. Satisfied clients (pun intended) refer their sad, sexless friends and her practice grows. Jane raises her rates, and then raises them again until she’s a cozy 30% above market average. She could raise them again, but she’s not comfortable cutting off the common man.
So here is Jane working her butt off and maxed out at $60k/year. Comfortable yes, but nowhere near the income potential she knows is laying dormant somewhere, if she could just tap into it.
The time barrier is a common problem I see among coaches and therapists. They’re maxed out on the number of clients they can see in a week, and feel like their income has plateaued.
In my business – the writing business, that is – the solution is usually to switch to a value-based pricing model. But in the B2C world, where clients aren’t necessarily bringing in the six- and seven-figure dollas, coaches need a more multifaceted fix.
Breaking the Time Barrier: Coaches and Therapists Edition
Offer a digital program.
Most coaches have at least one good course socked away – one they can rattle off without even blinking an eye. You may already be giving this course locally. Packaging it into an online program could be as simple as sending your materials to a designer/writer.
Tip: If you plan for your online course to make money, you’d better plan to do some marketing. I see a lot of coaches building programs and then sitting back and waiting for the money to flow. It just doesn’t work that way. Like anything, your program needs marketing.
Cut down or collect on no-shows, preferably both.
Consider that if you work 48 weeks per year, charge $100/hour and average 3 no-shows a week, that’s $14,400 in missed income. Even with a 50% cancellation fee you would be collecting a cool seven grand.
When I rented my first apartment, the landlord charged me a $35 deposit for keys. (That’s illegal by the way, but I digress.) “I used to charge $20,” she told me. “But it wasn’t enough. For $35, people always return the keys.”
Finding the sweet spot – the slap on the wrist that hurts just the right amount – is key to reducing no-shows. It should deter the client just enough to keep from doing it again, but not so much that they're nervous to rebook. Trust me, I get how painful this can be to implement. Painful, but necessary.
Tip: Automated booking helps cut down on no-shows. Most scheduling software will allow you to set a few automated reminders by text or email, giving your clients a chance to easily cancel or reschedule their appointments online. A few of my clients have raved about Aquity, which starts at $13/month and will buy you hours of extra time.
Retail those hard-to-find goodies that support your work.
We go to natural healers and coaches for the inside scoop. Stuff we haven’t read about online. I’m willing to bet you know about a few hard-to-find products with the potential to change lives.
If you’re a sex coach, maybe you sell jade eggs. If you’re a therapist, maybe one of your professors wrote an incredible workbook that isn’t commercially available. If you’re a health coach, you probably know about an excellent brand of vitamins that isn’t available at the pharmacy.
Tip: MLM businesses can be very compatible with coaching practices, but most people write them off because of cultural bias. I’ve seen clients do very well with DoTerra and Usana. Keep an open mind. If the product is good, why shouldn't you offer it?
Put your expertise in writing.
Yes, yes, writing a book takes time and all that. But if your clients are having success with what they learn in your office, chances are they’re willing to invest in what you’ve written. And if they’re willing to invest, others will be too.
A ghostwriter can help you refine your message, craft a proposal, or pitch your idea to a literary agent, if you want to go that route. You can outsource as much or as little of this work as suits your time and budget.
Transition to online booking.
Online booking is too simple not to do. Start by getting new clients in the habit, then begin transitioning your existing clients. All that’s required on your part is keeping your schedule up to date.
Your software should be able to alert your clients when they have an appointment coming up, remind them again on the day of, and let them easily reschedule if necessary. Again, my clients seem to love Aquity. For a free option, YouCanBook.Me has saved me lots of time in the past.
Invest time in your online marketing.
If you did your homework, you know where your clients spend their time online and you’ve mapped out the path from new visitor to client to raving fan (this is called your sales funnel). Anytime you spend developing your online presence can, at some point, be translated into a fat list, book sales, a rockin’ webinar series, etc.
Do some public speaking.
I have a client who speaks regularly before the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors. In addition to compensating her for her time, this little side job provides a steady stream of new referrals and virtually eliminates the need to for other marketing.
Offer group workshops or classes.
Our friend Jane happens to be in a profession that easily translates to group workshops. This can be done online or in person. Either way, the income potential is much higher than one-on-one.
Expect a time investment setting up your course, the same as you would with an online course. You’ll need some marketing materials to get the word out, including a splash page and/or print brochure. But once it’s out, it’s out. This works particularly well with niche offerings – a spoon-bending workshop, a tantric love couples weekend, things like that.
Lastly, you must believe it’s possible.
Energy flows where attention goes. Your income potential has no ceiling. The reason my clients are successful isn't because of my irresistibly crafted landing pages and digital programs, it's because they're consistently investing in their businesses.
If you don't have the cash, you probably have the time. The opposite is also true. Is there a channel you can open up for some cash to flow in? (That's a rhetorical question. There are unlimited channels to create more cash flow.) The question is, which one and when?