The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Launching Their Online Coaching Business

07/08/2017 01:00 pm ET
Sterling Griffin

Building a successful business online isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, there is a much bigger learning curve than most people realize.

That’s because even the most accomplished, insightful experts in their field still have to take the time to understand the ins and outs of the Internet. They have to learn how to manage their web presence, how to create worthwhile content on social media, how to build an audience that converts into customers and clients. There are a lot of nuances that come with bringing your business online, and it’s one of those things that sounds great in theory but is a lot harder than people realize.

Which is why it’s worthwhile to learn what mistakes people make in the process so that you don’t repeat them. For business coach and entrepreneur, Sterling Griffin, this was the very journey he had to experience, filled with a whole lot of lessons learned the hard way. Griffin built a six figure fitness coaching business online in about 5 months from nothing, and not only saw the power of expanding his reach and influence (and business) across the Internet, but how many mistakes people make when they dive into the world of online coaching.

“It’s one of those things that looks very different from the outside,” he said. “When people look at online businesses, especially online coaches, they think it all just sort of happens. You build a nice looking website. You make a post on Facebook. And then whoosh, clients just start rolling in—and that’s not how it is at all.”

He went on to explain that a lot of the mistakes people make in trying to get their first few coaching clients happen simply from a lack of knowledge as to what has worked for other coaches, even in other industries.

“You don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “You just need to get clear on what is going to move the needle the most for you and your business, put a few consistent habits in place, and then price yourself accordingly.”

Here are the three biggest mistakes he shared that he’s seen other coaches make in the process of launching their online businesses, and what you can do instead:

1. Spending a ton of money on a fancy website, instead of something that’s going to drive business and sales.

“Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to get clients,” he said. “First of all, there are millions of websites online. How is your target client going to find yours? And more importantly, if they do come across your website, what’s going to give them the reason to work with you?”

Griffin explained that, especially when you’re first starting out (and hyper-aware of every dollar you’re pouring into your business), your money is far better spent going into something that’s going to drive business and sales. Nowadays, you can use a free website builder to get something clean and professional up in a matter of hours. But even then, you don’t need a website to drive large numbers of interested clients to buy from you. Your social media is enough of a connection point. It’s unnecessary to pay for a fancy website when these days it’s not necessary to get to a six figure earning level at all.

“Whether it’s Facebook ads, Influencer marketing, email marketing, there is a lot of testing that needs to happen in order for you to figure out what’s going to bring you the biggest return on your investment,” he said. “I promise you a website isn’t one of them. Not in the very beginning.”

2. Creating content that isn’t focused around the questions your target customer is asking.

The second mistake Griffin pointed out is the fact that people make content creation far more difficult than it needs to be.

“Just think about what questions your target customer is asking, and then answer them,” he said. “If you think they’re sitting there wondering, ‘What should I eat in order to be healthy?’ then cater your content to answering that question.”

The reason you should go about your content creation process this way, he said, is because you are delivering your ideal client value before they even have to ask for it. If you get people to start following you because they extract that much good information from your content, then they will want to hire you for your help with the implementation.

“Give people your best stuff for free, then they’ll pay you for help to implement it. That’s really the point of creating social content, to establish trust by first providing someone value. And if you can do that before they ask for it (or even know what to ask for), they’ll see you as an authority they need to work with,” said Griffin.

3. Not “pricing out” the customers that aren’t serious, and selling yourself short.

The third, and probably biggest mistake Griffin pointed out that new coaches make is they under-price themselves and their services—drastically.

“Effectively scaling your business online isn’t done by selling $47 eBooks. If anything, these lower-sale products and service offerings end up hurting your business, because now you have even more customers to manage. Consider instead pricing out the people who aren’t serious, who don’t truly want to invest the time, so that you can focus your time and energy on the people who are there to work and transform. Those are the clients you want,” he said.

Griffin went on to explain that by going after higher ticket clients, you end up getting the people you really want to work with—and end up being far more profitable in the process.

“Don’t be afraid to say no to certain opportunities, or price yourself at a premium,” said Griffin. “If you know you are going to be able to provide someone the value you’re looking for, then you have to ask yourself how much your time is worth. And plus, if people pay you more, they end up being more committed to following through on your program than those who would pay less.”

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