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How to Start an Online Coaching Business in 2024 (8 Steps)

If you’re looking to level up your coaching, this guide will help you set up an online coaching business.

By Mighty Team

April 9, 2024

14 min read



    Coaches are thriving.

    The International Coaching Federation estimated that the coaching industry grew by $20 billion USD and increased by 54% between 2019 and 2022.

    So if you're looking to earn 6- or even 7- figures by helping people transform their lives, that's a fantastic calling. And the time is now.

    In this article, we're going to give you everything you need to know about starting a coaching business. This includes:

    • Validating an offer and finding your ideal clients

    • Choosing a profitable coaching business model

    • Launching and scaling a thriving coaching business

    If you’re interested in learning how to start an online coaching business, but unsure where to start, this guide will walk you through what you need to know.

    If you want more support in building your online community, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!


    What is online coaching?

    Online coaching is when a coach offers transformative products and services over the internet--almost always including some type of virtual meeing with clients. This can be done through video or audio calls, or even messaging.

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    Here are some of the benefits of online coaching:

    • Coaches can attract more clients because they aren’t limited to being in the same town/city.

    • Coaches can provide their services from anywhere — from the comfort of their home to a coffee shop.

    • A coaching niche can be more viable if you're pulling from a bigger pool (e.g. you might not have enough people in your town to fit your niche).

    • Having more niched and specialized services can create a more profitible coaching business.

    • There’s minimal investment — coaches only need good WiFi and a reliable device.

    • Coaches can integrate additional content into their service by using a purpose-built coaching platform.

    • Coaches can scale the value and services they bring their clients--including different delivery forms like productized services or group coaching.

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    What makes a successful coaching business?

    • A niche: Generalist coaches can build businesses, but one of the quickest routes to success is to choose an in-demand niche and master it.

    • Expertise: This can mean different things, but a good coach does need some level of expertise: through training or lived experience. Some coaches will also choose to have qualifications and certificates to boost their credibility (e.g. ICF Certification).

    • A value proposition: People hire coaches because of a transformation they want to experience. If you can provide this, you've got the basics of success.

    • Coaching skills: Successful coaches aren't all the same, but do have a set of coaching skills: things like active listening, asking good questions, and critical problem solving.

    • An acquisition channel: Word of mouth can be enough to grow a coaching business, but most coaches will have other strategies to acquire clients, from ads to being active on social media to getting listed in directories.

    • Testimonials and reviews: These help reassure potential clients and reduce friction. Nobody has these when they start, so don't sweat it if you don't yet. As you land your first clients, be proactive about acquiring testimonials and reviews.

    • Scale: Many successful coaches also scale into different offerings, like courses, events, or group coaching.

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    1:1 Coaching vs. group coaching

    When considering how to build your coaching business, there's a question that most people have--should you do 1:1 or group coaching?

    There's no one answer. It probably depends on your preferences as a coach, the preferences of your ideal clients (below), and which model better fits a coaching subject. For example, coaching people to master job interviews can be great in a group. But some subjects are so personal that 1:1 might be a better fit.

    1:1 Coaching

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    The biggest benefit to 1:1 coaching is that you can meet your clients’ needs in a focused and private setting.


    • There's more privacy and you can go deeper on issues than you might with group coaching.

    • Some clients prefer focused attention.

    • You can spend more time with each client.

    The downsides of 1:1 coaching is that it can take up more of your time (more time spent sharing your knowledge, offering solutions, and listening). In order for 1:1 to be cost-effective, you’ll have to charge higher rates compared to group coaching. This business model also takes longer to scale.

    Group coaching

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    If you’re more interested in building a community and facilitating sessions with multiple clients at once, group coaching is the path for you. Group coaching can be just as effective or even more so than 1:1 coaching, especially if you have members who all share a similar set of challenges.


    • It can foster radical honesty and vulnerability. When members open up about challenges they’re facing, it encourages others to do so.

    • It helps people know their struggles are normal.

    • Members help keep one another accountable--challenging members to take steps and asking how it went.

    • Serve more members at once.

    Unlike 1:1 coaching, group coaching is much easier to scale, meaning you grow your business more quickly in less time.

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    The challenge with group coaching is that you have less time with each client (sometimes you won’t get the full picture of their situation in the first few sessions).

    Working with a group also requires a higher level of emotional intelligence (EQ) because you’re working with a variety of individuals who have different personalities and perspectives. You’ll have some clients who actively participate, and volunteer to share their point of view, while other clients are fine just observing and don’t always feel comfortable sharing.

    That’s why it’s your job as a coach and the group facilitator to moderate discussions, make note of who participates, and pick clients who will make your coaching community thrive. Your ideal clients will be people with similar experiences, who are willing to talk about these experiences during a group coaching session where you provide a safe and non-judgemental environment.

    You need to help everyone find common ground and make sure that each member achieves their goals by overcoming their personal challenges — which is no easy feat!

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    How to start an online coaching business (8 steps)

    1. Find your unique value proposition

    While coaching involves helping others, you can start from yourself.

    Take stock of your core competencies and ask yourself important questions.

    • What do you do better than most people you know?

    • What area do you have lots of experience in?

    • What do people ask you about?

    • What have you learned that you could help someone with?

    • Do you need additional qualifications and certifications?

    • Do people pay for coaching in your area of expertise?

    Maybe you’ve spent years working in a particular industry like Aliza Licht, who worked in fashion, creating popular social brand personalities. Now she uses her experience as a successful entrepreneur to provide career advice and new insights for young working professionals.

    Basically, figuring out your focus as a coach involves knowing what areas of expertise you’re qualified to help others in combined with what you’re passionate about.

    This leads us to who you want to coach…

    2. Identify your ideal clients

    As with any business, you want to hone in on who your ideal clients are. Since you have expertise in one area, it would be difficult to appeal to everyone.

    That’s ok, because that’s the beauty of coaching — there’s a coach out there for every type of person.

    Look at these examples of online coaching businesses:

    • Helping single dads get back in the dating game

    • Helping IT consultants get more contracts

    • Helping millennials who are first-time bosses transition to leaders

    • Helping CEOs craft their thought leadership on LinkedIn

    There are all specific coaching business with a clear ideal client.

    With a crystal clear ideal client, you'll better understand how you can help them, what they need from you, and how to attract new clients.

    What does your ideal client look like? Be clear about what their pain points are, their experiences, what stage of life they’re at, and what they want to achieve. You want these people to see your services and think, “That’s what I need!”

    Interview potential clients

    The best market research is potential client interviews. Set up interviews with potential clients to find out their pain points, goals, and learning styles.

    Keep an open mind here and listen well. These interviews aren't just about finding ways to sell things to the people you think are ideal clients. It's also about validating both your niche and your idea.

    If you get positive feedback and see a need, move forward.

    3. Develop a coaching program

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    With your ideal client in your mind, it's time to design the program that will get them to transform.

    Who will they be a year from now because they did your coaching program? What will they have accomplished? Set program goals, and then lay out clear steps to help them get to those goals.

    Your coaching program needs to involve clear steps and structure.

    Example: "Launch a tech career in 6 months"

    Let’s say you’re a career coach who helps unfulfilled and underpaid employees transition into better careers in the tech industry over a six-month period. You've got a clear promise in your coaching package, plus a time-frame to help them reach their goals.

    You'd need laser focus on what sessions your clients need to move the needle, and actionable items after each session to make sure they'll see results. It could look like this

    • Session 1: Networking and exploring paths

    • Session 2: Landing your first interview

    • Session 3: Acing the interview

    • Session 4: Salary negotiation and professional development

    Community Design™ can help

    When creating a Mighty Network, we teach a process we call Community Design™, and part of the process is developing a Big Purpose statement, which looks like this:

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - your-big-purpose

    We do this for building communities, but whether you're building a coaching community or not--the steps are great to walk through.

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    4. Set the price

    You could run a masterclass on setting pricing for coaching packages. But here's a simple hack.

    Rookie coaches look at themselves to set their pricing. They ask:

    • How much am I worth?

    • How much do I know?

    • How much can I feel good about?

    Veteran coaches look at the client. They ask:

    • How much is this knowledge and transformation worth to them?

    • How much value will they get out of this?

    • How much to they need to pay to take this serously?

    • How much can they afford?

    And do your research on what comparitive packages go for. Ask other coaches in your niche or simply scour the Internet to find your answer.

    A good rule of thumb is to price your services high enough that your clients will value your work but low enough that your ideal clients can afford you — find the sweet spot.

    But this is a very different number--depending on your clients. Unemployed job seekers may value a coach, but can only afford to pay a certain amount. For an executive, that same amount is probably too small.

    There may be some trial and error when it comes to figuring out your rate, but you’ll quickly know what makes sense and adjust accordingly.

    Something else to keep in mind is that you should require a minimum commitment from your clients. Maybe you offer package deals but the minimum package is four coaching sessions. This will give you enough time to get to know them, help them with their challenges, and show them your value, keeping them coming back for more.

    "If it doesn't cost anything, it's probably not worth a whole lot... People who pay, pay attention. If people pay, they implement what you say, they take action and change their lives." Dan Miller - 48 Days Eagles

    5. Choose a platform

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    Delivering online coaching requires tech. There's no way around that. So pick a platform that makes sense for your online coaching business. Whether you want to do 1:1 coaching or build a community for group coaching, your platform should have all the features that make your online coaching business a success.

    At the bare minimum you’ll need a platform where you can host scheduled video conference sessions. A good online coaching platform will also let you offer free trials, bundles, discounts, and anything else related to sales.

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    Even if you prioritize 1:1 coaching, consider building a community out of your interested clients. You might be surprised what connections emerge, and if you decide to pivot into group coaching, you’ll have a ready-made audience. Look for a community platform that’s designed to make engaging easy.

    Features such as public forums for posting and live streaming, direct and group messaging, and video hosting will be essential to encourage interaction and connection amongst members.

    Or, you could choose a platform to help you build beautiful, engaging courses. Courses are great additional resources for your clients or they can be tied right into your coaching program. They allow you to have more of an impact and can be used to scale your business (e.g. offering your courses separately from your program and charging an additional fee for members to access them).

    6. Build and test

    As with any business, you want to test it out before you launch it. Even if you have done in-person coaching, it’s a good idea to test out your online coaching business on a few clients. Make sure your internet connection is good, the transformative journey you take your clients on makes sense, and you’re familiar with the platform.

    This is where you can iron out any kinks and get feedback. Testers who have benefited from your coaching services will be happy to provide a testimonial, which you can use for marketing purposes.

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    7. Build your pipeline

    Just like any business, most coaches need to spend some time attracting ideal clients. What’s important here is to stand out from the sea of other coaches. Remember to highlight what makes you unique by accurately describing your services and showcasing your strengths, credentials, and experience. And lead with your story... that's powerful.

    Here are some marketing strategies you can implement to attract new clients:

    • Use social media: Choose social channels that make sense for your business and where your ideal client is likely to hang out the most (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, even TikTok depending on the type of content and age of the target audience). Make sure to engage with content as well, don’t just post and expect others to like your stuff. But there's a lot of noise on social. Don't be surprised if you don't get an explosion of clients just from posting regularly.

    • Consider ads: Although not free (and sometimes not cheap), ads might make sense for your business. It’s a good way to get in front of a new audience and may generate a high return on investment (ROI) for you.

    • Integrate email: Email marketing can be a solid client acquisition strategy--since 99% of email users check their inbox daily. So give value in people's inbox. For example, if you’re a nutrition coach, you can provide five examples of healthy snacks to prepare on the fly. Each week you can provide a new tip with a call to action (CTA) to sign up for your coaching program.

    • Create more value: A common marketing strategy is to create additional resources, like an ebook or infographic. This strategy is to establish yourself as an expert and show that you're capable of offering value.

    • Use testimonials: They're powerful. to back up your claims and prove your legitimacy. 70% of any shoppers online read reviews first. That's why testimonials can be a really valuable selling tool.

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    8. Deliver (And keep delivering)

    Finally, deliver your coaching package to the very best of your ability to your ideal clients. And when it's done, look at what worked and what didn't, then run it again.

    Thanks to online marketing, many coaches have the idea that they need to make $20k in their opening weekend to be a success. That's not true at all. Keep growing, learning, and improving. Thriving digital businesses take time to grow, just like bricks and mortar ones.

    Here are ways to improve:

    • Check in with your clients to see if they reached their goals.

    • Ask for feedback (as well as testimonials).

    • Check your analytics to see what worked and where clients spent time (especially with a recorded coaching program).

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    Whether you prefer coaching 1:1 or in a group, there’s a lot that goes into building an online coaching business. If you thoughtfully plan it out, from understanding who your ideal clients are to attracting the right ones, you’ll have a successful business that you can run from anywhere.

    If you're looking for coaching software that gives you everything you need for your online coaching business: including the power to build programs, deliver sessions, host virtual events and livestream, and build a coaching community (if you want to), come build with Mighty!

    Our powerful platform is designed to help you grow your online coaching business and community. And you can try it free for 14 days--no credit card required.

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