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Hard Lessons You Quickly Learn In Your First Year Running a High-Ticket Coaching Program

Growing a high-ticket coaching program is a profitable venture but leads to some predictable lessons—here’s what to learn sooner than later.

Author Photo

by James Mulvey

Apr 4

A high-ticket coaching program—which we define as a bundle of online courses, group coaching calls, and direct access to a few top-tier experts— is designed for people interested in achieving substantial results and transformation.


The price tags we see (as we have access to thousands of communities and business models) tend to start at $999 and move up from there, with most landing in the $2,000 to $10,000 range, often with a few tiers which give more and more personalized 1:1 coaching.


Running a high-ticket coaching program is an incredibly smart way to turn a handful of courses and your expertise into a true business that can ramp up quickly into something special.


It’s not uncommon for us to see small teams (a founder and a few employees or full-time contractors) bringing two to three million dollars in yearly revenue from memberships and coaching programs alone, in addition to other revenue streams.


If you’ve committed to running your own high-ticket coaching program, I’ve collected some of the lessons we see founders discover and correct by the end of their first year.


These are based on real examples of business coaches and industry experts who host branded apps and paid membership communities with Mighty Pro.


At some point, you’re going to ditch Facebook Groups


As sure as the sun sets, every successful business coach and course creator is eventually going to have some type of issue with running large Facebook Groups either being banned, shut down, or temporarily suspended. This is the most common complaint we hear.


This can happen even if your topics aren’t controversial.


One globally recognized personal development celebrity was shut down moments before they were going to go live to thousands of customers. This celebrity’s content is all about positivity and achieving more in life!


We recently worked with a YouTuber who publishes inspiring travel content and had his revenue shut off after being temporarily shut down by Facebook. His content is about the beauty of humanity and a celebration of world cultures!


Another entrepreneur we worked with runs high-ticket programs for founders and CEOs and had his Facebook Groups disabled. He’s teaching founders how to hire people and scale their operations—more boring than controversial!


Prepare for this as a possible event and remember that you’re renting space when you use Facebook Groups.


If your topics are considered controversial by Facebook’s algorithm and you are getting shadow-banned, pull the plug sooner and move your community into a community management platform.


One Mighty Pro Host we worked with made the move from Facebook Groups into her own branded apps. She was routinely shut down on Facebook due to her sex-positive topics. Her community is an exceptional place for women, her courses teach empowerment and self-mastery, but it’s impossible to argue with an algorithm!


Once she left Facebook, her high-ticket coaching programs took off, adding millions to her yearly revenue. “I was shadowbanned on all the Facebook apps,” she told us. “My business grew 5x since moving away from Facebook Groups. Moving into my own apps has been the most incredible business.”


Free communities often mean WAY more headaches


For most business coaches, you’ve come up in social media distribution land. More traffic, more followers, more scale is the gospel. And you’ve likely built a large following and want to bring as many people as possible into your coaching programs and online communities.


When we work with Mighty Pro Hosts creating their membership communities, they generally begin with a free community. The logic is that it’s hard to get people to pay for access, especially if you’ve been running a free Facebook Group, and you need that funnel of people to move from your 10-day challenges into an introductory offer and then into your premium coaching programs.


We have lots of successful free communities hosted with Mighty Pro. But a few predictable issues that might come up.


First, if the purpose of your community is about learning and mastering a topic, a smaller community can deliver higher signal-to-noise. With large communities, conversations can spiral back into social media land, with people wishing each other good morning, sharing photos of their day, and filling the feed with ordinary content.


We have lots of communities hosted on Mighty Pro where this makes sense—for example, you’re hosting a travel community where the primary purpose is social interaction and meeting friends or you’re hosting a yoga community where people are gathering for connection and support beyond yoga instruction.


Second, you’ll have more to moderate. With the doors wide open, you’ll have people bouncing in and out of your community. Some people won’t be there to learn; others will need to be reminded of your house rules.


Third, you’ll start to see a pattern in your members. One of our Mighty Pro Hosts created a large free community to support their mystical courses and high-ticket programs. They run a popular YouTube channel on the same topic, so it was easy to attract people into their free community. But once the community was running, they noticed two types of members.


The first was a large group of people with some interest in their topic. These people were curious. But not serious about going from watching a YouTube video to enrolling in a multi-year coaching program. The second type of member was a much smaller segment of people but was serious and wanted deeper discussions and purchased their coaching programs.


In the end, they switched the community to paid, which led to higher-value discussions inside the community and a better pool of prospects for their coaching programs.


As they told us after making the switch from a free community to a paid one, “the vibe changed in a good way! The paid members are more positive and much more powerful. We’re seeing new members join every day.” As part of their coaching programs, they offer in-person retreats and regular events, so having members that energize them and that will actually travel to their in-person events creates an incredible foundation for their business.


Another Host using Mighty Pro started with a free community. She’s an author, keynote speaker, and teaches courses for people with a drive to improve their lives.


With a free community, this Host found that while a lot of people joined (over 15,000 members regularly participated), the community energy had strayed away from where she wanted to take people. She didn’t want to have a community full of selfies and chit-chat. She wanted people to push themselves and improve their professional skills.


This Host switched the community to paid and made clear that this was a space for professionals to challenge themselves. Once they made the switch, a smaller group joined, bringing in instant revenue from the paid membership. And created a growing community that was more aligned with the Host’s brand and more likely candidates to purchase her courses and programs.


Raising your prices is scary but will work out


As you focus on growing your coaching business, that means more tech tools to buy, hiring more freelancers to help you run your operations, and more experimentation with attracting new members including social ad spend.


The first year often leads to a financial crunch. But one lesson we see our Hosts learn again and again is that it’s okay to raise your prices.


What you haven’t realized is that you’ve likely vastly underestimated the value of your programs.


As you’ve been scaling, you focused your marketing and content to better attract your Ideal Member, you’ve improved your coaching impact, and you’ve improved your member experience by moving away from Facebook Groups. Maybe even you’ve launched your own branded white-labeled apps, giving members a premium way to access your community, coaching events, and courses in one place.


The result? You’re delivering way more than before. And it’s time to raise your prices to match that value.


One of our Hosts hit the predictable wall and realized that their low-priced courses did not give them the financial foundation they needed to deliver a successful high-ticket coaching program. They made the leap and 10x’d their price.


“More money came in immediately,” they told us. “Raising our prices made us focus on the people that would actually purchase higher ticket programs. We needed to stop serving members who just were not right. We’ll build something for them in the future and we like them, but the people who are willing to pay more, they’re coming in ready to go.”


Longer program commitments deliver better value for members


If you’re creating coaching programs for busy professionals, founders, or entrepreneurs also running businesses, you’ll fast learn—your members WANT to come to all the sessions but life is truly busy. This can be frustrating to you as you’re putting on amazing group coaching calls, getting world-class speakers in your events, and running a community filled with life-changing knowledge.


A common switch we’ll see among our Hosts after the first year of running their mastermind and coaching programs is to increase the length of the commitment.


One of our Hosts runs a mastermind group for entrepreneurs and in their second year, switched from a three-month coaching program to a 12-month commitment. This helped them deliver more value, plus gives members more time to miss a few sessions, while still feeling like they got their money’s worth.


Another one of our Hosts will do multi-year commitments. Her programs are ultra-premium, specialized, and valuable and she requires a lot of commitment, which works well for making sure people achieve the results and transformation they signed up for. Longer commitments mean you can charge higher and likely results in smaller groups.


This is positive and members will gain a richer networking experience, more personalized help from you and your team, and will feel more social pressure to attend a smaller group than a large faceless weekly Zoom coaching call.


You’ve launched fast and have some technical debt


Like any new venture, the most important thing is to get moving. Speed is everything, and so in your first year, you didn’t have time to put too much research into your tech stack.


You heard Kajabi or Thinkific were good places to host courses, so you bought those. Facebook Groups were easy to get started, so you built your community there. You needed a payment system so used Keap or Shopify. You needed to host videos and events so bought WebinarNinja, Crowdcast, Vimeo, and maybe even a conference platform like Hopin.


You needed landing pages and funnels so you bought ClickFunnels. You’re sending automation emails with ActiveCampaign. And flicking through a host of glitchy tools to make your livestreaming events run better. And you’re working with a developer non-stop to fix broken plugins and try to get things more integrated.


All of these tools have a purpose. But over time, the experience you’re offering members becomes a mess.


As one Host told us, “We were tired of running our experience in so many different places, it felt too disjointed. People had to log in to Kajabi for our courses. We ran the community in Facebook Groups, with different groups for challenges. And then we needed to get everyone to join a different platform for our yearly online conferences. Plus, you have to redirect emails, send text messages via Community, and manage cancellations in multiple apps. We burned out.”


Bringing your entire coaching program—including courses, community, weekly coaching calls, livestreaming, and even conferences—into your own branded apps is the way to simplify your tech stack and improve the experience of your members.


While this delivers a much simpler community management experience for your team, it also simplifies the front of your house.


You have ONE app to promote in your Instagram content, website, or to mention on your podcast. Members download it, purchase your programs, and can log in to access it all: the courses they’ve purchased, specific communities or challenges they get as part of your coaching events, event reminders and invites to virtual or in-person retreats you’re running, livestreaming, and mobile notifications to remind them of new discussions and upcoming coaching sessions.


To simplify your tech and improve your member experience, you can use platforms like Mighty Networks’ Mighty Pro, Disciple Media, or Thunkable, to launch incredible member experiences delivered on the web, iOS, and Android.


While things like switching payment and email systems are a bigger pain to move, you can start by combining your online courses, group coaching calls, and dedicated communities into one place, giving members a single login and an incredible bundle of knowledge.

Ready to launch your own branded apps?

Get a live demo of Mighty Pro

With Mighty Pro, you can deliver your high-ticket programs, courses, cohort-based learning communities, livestreaming, and events with your own branded iOS, iPad, and Android apps. You’ll also unlock our most advanced analytics, access to the Mighty Pro Design Lab, and 1:1 strategic services.

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