How to Transition Your Private Coaching into an Online Offering
As an online coach or teacher, you undoubtedly recognize the importance of crafting stellar, visually appealing, strategic video content. And you’re absolutely right; the quality of your videos directly impacts your reputation and brand.
But what you might not realize is that some of your video content can (and even should) be casual and off-the-cuff. That’s right, it’s perfectly fine to mix gorgeously-lit and meticulously scripted content with improvised, heartfelt live lessons. In fact, live-streaming tools like Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and Periscope have liberated us from releasing ONLY near-perfect video content. Students and followers have learned to love our messy live broadcasts as much as our refined, pre-recorded ones.
What does this mean for you as a coach? That you should start offering live-streamed sessions this instant! As soon as you give your clients the option to engage with you one-on-one via a live-stream, you can increase your revenue and simplify your work day. Many teachers and coaches overlook this option, and we aim to change that. Incorporating this medium into your existing business model offers you a new and easy path to cash.
Still feel like slick, prepackaged online classes are the ONLY way to go? Read on, my friend.
Online one-on-one coaching sessions are more reliable money-makers than courses or memberships
Brand strategist Pia Silva points out that far too many entrepreneurs dive into launching an online course before they’re truly ready. You need a large and active audience and gobs of professional credibility before anyone will fork over hundreds or thousands of dollars for your multi-week course. And courses may seem like “passive” revenue streams, but they actually require a mountain of prep work and some serious behind-the-scenes management.
One-on-one online consults, on the other hand, are the perfect way to build both revenue and clout while offering valuable services to eager clients. You may want to build a course someday, but starting with online coaching sessions can help you build the foundation you’ll need to make that future online course a success.
Need more reasons to take the live-streaming route right now? Here you go:
- Private online coaching requires virtually no prep. Unlike pre-taped videos, classes, and courses, you can work with a client in any tidy, relatively well-lit room. And as soon as you hit the live-stream button, you’re ready to rock.
- Online client consults help you build your fan base while earning money. Cultivate meaningful relationships with your students, bring in revenue, and develop your impeccable reputation all at once!
- One-on-one live-streamed sessions allow you to hone your craft. Refine your content and coaching style by working one-on-one with clients. Spend a year or so learning about your clients’ common questions, problems, or issues through individual sessions. That way, when you’re ready to build a group program or course, you can tailor it to address their specific needs.
- Virtual coaching saves you time. Coaching in person is a great way to build rapport, but often means commuting to an office, a studio, or the client’s home. Online sessions allow you to save travel time and therefore book more sessions per day (or take some much-needed time off).
- Private online coaching creates instant boundaries. Many teachers have told us that they struggle to end their in-person sessions diplomatically. People love to stand around and chat once the work is done, even if the coach has a mountain of other work to tackle. Live-streamed sessions mean clicking off when you’re done without any drawn-out goodbyes.
Sounds pretty great, right? Fantastic! Let’s dig into the nuts and bolts of getting your one-on-one online offerings up and running.
How to determine pricing for your live-streamed coaching sessions
Let’s start with a huge and incredibly important DON’T: Never sell your services by the hour. Or even by the session! Going this route means giving your clients total control of your process and an escape hatch if the work gets too tough. Many people who seek coaching know they need guidance, but are wary of the investment and the time commitment. When you offer hourly options, you make it easy for them to skimp on their investment or decide they’ve learned enough.
Naturally, you’d never want to trick your clients into purchasing more services than they need, but most clients need far more support than they realize. One big breakthrough is not enough; they need a plan for execution, backup ideas, resource recommendations, and often need a sounding board to see them through the entire process. They may feel done long before they actually are done.
What’s the alternative? Create packages of sessions. Doing this allows you to deliver real value to your clients, truly help them improve and develop, and embrace a business strategy that creates sustainable income for you as a coach.
PACKAGE PRICING TIP 1: Keep it simple
Naturally, you want to create packages of services that are robust and packed with appealing offerings, but you need to balance that instinct with a shot of simplicity. If your packages sound overwhelming or include services that your clients don’t realize they need, they’ll hesitate to purchase. Keep the offerings themselves simple, and make sure the copy that describes them is clear and comprehensible.
PACKAGE PRICING TIP 2: Offer options and levels
Different clients have different needs … and different budgets! So as you assemble the packages for your live-streamed coaching sessions, create at least three options for potential clients to choose from. For instance, you could present a 30-day program at one price, a 90-day plan at a higher price, and then the option to go month-to-month after a client has completed the 90-day option.
PACKAGE PRICING TIP 3: Know your audience
People with extremely specific needs and pain points tend to be more motivated and, therefore, more willing to pay for what they need. People who are a little bit lost and looking for general guidance may be less inclined to commit. Someone who coaches Baby Boomers working in tech fields on advancing to the C-suite will be able to charge more than someone who coaches anyone of any age on career next steps. Be honest with yourself about where you fall on the continuum!
PACKAGE PRICING TIP 4: Set a revenue goal and work backwards
Although pricing your services by the hour isn’t a great tactic, you still need to know how much an hour of your time is worth. So consider your revenue goal for the year and work backwards.
Say you want to make $250,000 this year. Awesome! Let’s break that down to an hourly rate.
$250,000 is your total revenue goal.
How many weeks do you want to work this year? 48 | $250,000 / 48 = $5,208
How many days do you want to work each week? 4 | $5,208 / 4 = $1,302
How many hours do you want to work each day? 6 | $1,302 / 6 = $217
(Coach Melissa Ingold offers an online calculator to break this down if you’d like a simple shortcut!)
This is an ideal scenario, of course, but it’s also a great way to put together some ballpark pricing for your one-on-one coaching sessions and packages. If your lowest level package will take up approximately six hours of your time (including pre- and post-work), charging $1,300 will keep you right on target to hit your overall revenue goal.
PACKAGE PRICING TIP 5: Consider pre-selling
Pre-selling is the practice of creating a private launch before an offering is completely built and perfected. It may sound risky, but it’s actually a proven way of validating your concept, and a fantastic way to test out your packaged pricing. By pre-selling you can find out if people are truly willing to pay for your services, gather their feedback, and improve your packages before formally rolling them out. The two most-used pre-selling techniques are:
Beta Groups: Offer an in-development version of your product at a discounted price, be honest about the fact that you’re still refining, and gather everyone who’s willing to pay into a private online group. A private Facebook group or email list is ideal for these folks, who will get access to the content gradually as you create it. After they’ve completed the entire program, gather their feedback, revise your offering, and launch it publicly.
Teaser Webinars: Create an email series that builds trust and engagement, offer a free webinar that allows them to preview your offering, and then point them toward a private pre-sale on the full paid offering. The webinar itself can be brief, but should be enjoyable and relevant so it actually increases the likelihood of viewers purchasing your product.
Beta groups are helpful to entrepreneurs who already have a loyal following. If you don’t have an established fan base and deep trust, it can be challenging to convince strangers to help you work through the kinks of an incomplete product. The webinar strategy works for the majority of entrepreneurs regardless of audience size, though it does require some extra prep and content-creation on your part.
Refining the format for your live-streamed coaching sessions
One-on-one coaching is, by its very nature, a custom offering; Each client will have a different style and different needs. However, to keep yourself AND your client on-track it’s incredibly helpful to have a templated format to follow. You can deviate from it whenever you need to, but just having the structure in place and in mind can create some important boundaries!
Before you dive into pre-selling or testing, walk through these format-refining questions:
- How long are your sessions? This may sound so simple, but it’s absolutely essential to define and stick to a set session length. Especially with online clients! If you plan to work for an hour and a half, start wrapping up ten minutes early and click off as soon as the time is up. Doing this forces both you and the client to work hard during the allotted time, and respect each others’ boundaries.
- How often do you meet? Different packages might have different frequencies. A more intensive offering might meet weekly, while a more advanced and less immersive one could be once per month.
- How many sessions will you include? Most coaches offer a minimum of five sessions in a package, but if you take our advice and offer various levels, you could go much higher.
- What will and will NOT be covered during each session? Again, set and stick to those boundaries! You can customize each session to each client, but create a rubric to follow to ensure you stay on-task. If there are any out-of-scope questions or topics that arise frequently, note them to yourself and potentially to your clients.
- What else can you add to your packaged offerings? To answer that fifth question, look at your existing assets. Do you have audio files, workbooks, or videos in your library of tools? Consider adding those as bonuses, assuming they complement the work you’re doing now. You can either include them in the offering description on your sales page, or add them as “surprises” for the client along the way.
Where to find clients for one-on-one online coaching sessions
This may be a new offering for you, but that doesn’t mean you have to cultivate an entirely new audience! Start with your existing client base. If they’ve been working with you in other capacities, they may jump at the chance to get one-on-one time with you.
Next, consider past clients who were able to work with you in person, but then moved away and put the relationship on indefinite hold. Now you can reconnect and begin working together remotely!
It can’t hurt to reach out to friends and family to let them know you’re exploring this new direction. Even if they aren’t interested themselves, they might be able to shake loose a few leads for you.
Finally, reach out to your email list to promote your online coaching services. Tell them how excited you are to be branching out, and invite them to give this new format a try. Consider sending out a limited-time coupon to your list to encourage them to jump at the opportunity to work with you in this new format.
Thinking beyond one-on-one work
If your teaching lends itself to group work, consider offering an online group coaching program. Group work can be a more affordable option for your clients compared to paying private consulting rates because you’d typically charge less per person for group work. And for you, you have more than one person paying for an hour of your time so it allows you to make a higher hourly rate which gets you closer to your revenue goals.
The added benefit of working online and that you are able to record the live-stream of your group’s session. The recording will then be available for anyone to listen to at any time and for those who were unable to make the meeting due to illness, or prior commitments.
Another smart tactic we’ve learned from our clients, is to add a few online spots for an in-person group program. An example is an in-person teacher training program that you is host in your physical office or studio. When you meet in your office, live-stream the session with your laptop and a webcam allowing those who are not able to attend in-person to participate in the session.
How entrepreneurs with in-person practices can leverage online sessions
Even if you’re not quite ready to take your business entirely online, creating some online offerings can significantly improve your overall efficiency and even save time with your in-person clients. Skeptical? Here’s how it plays out without online support:
Clinicians, for example, who see clients in person often spend significant time after each appointment writing out instructions, drawing diagrams, and emailing notes to the client. They may also send along links from different online resources or even record and email videos or photos of the client’s session. This is incredibly time-consuming, and not much fun to do at the end of a long client-filled day!
On the client side, the client may receive a boatload of disjointed emails from their coach and/or end up with printouts from various sessions floating all over their house. There is no single place or portal for them to visit to get the information and follow-up summaries they need.
Using live-streaming technology can shave off tons of time and help you hone your overall process.
Case Study: Kathleen Maier, Pilates Instructor
Kathleen is a well-known and respected Pilates instructor who, in addition to teaching group classes, works with many clients one-on-one who deal with chronic pain. She spends an intense and focused hour with the client, guiding them through a series of movements while keeping an ever-watchful eye on body alignment. She quickly becomes aware of each client’s weaknesses and compensations and is constantly reminding them how to achieve correct form.
The challenge she has is that at the end of the day or appointment, she spends hours drawing stick figure diagrams and writing out descriptions—including sessions and reps—and then emailing it all to each client. It was a time-suck for Kathleen, and meant her clients ended up with endless sheets of hand-drawn instructions or overflowing inboxes.
Since joining Namastream, Kathleen has significantly streamlined her process. Here’s what she does now:
- For a one hour in-person client, she will spend 55 minutes running the appointment as usual, and then take the last 5 minutes to quickly take a video of the client with her tablet. She shares the video with the client in her Namastream site, and only that specific client can access the video.
- She found she was frequently writing out, describing, or demonstrating the same movements to various clients, so now she has pre-recorded videos of these techniques that she can share with any private client who needs it. No need to re-write or draw or explain the same movement multiple times.
And Kathleen’s clients experience these benefits:
- All the information that Kathleen provides to them is stored in one online space that they can access anywhere, anytime.
- They have videos of themselves performing the exercises, with Kathleen’s verbal cues to remind them of what to do or not do.
With a small investment in a live-streaming setup, you can trim untold hours from your follow-up tactics with in-person clients!
Tips to make the filming of in-person clients fast and easy
Ready to start recording sessions with clients or short videos of yourself for follow-up communications? Here are three quick tips to keep in mind before you begin.
LOCATION: Find a spot in your studio or clinic where the client can demonstrate any techniques easily. Make sure that location has the correct light levels. Film with your client facing a window or light source so they’re not backlit. (This post has more tips on lighting.)
EQUIPMENT: Decide which device you are going to use and familiarize yourself with the settings. Make sure your browser is updated and that the browser settings allow use of both the camera and mic. Check out our Essential Gear Guide for both gear recommendations and tips.
TEST: Do a trial run before the client arrives so you’re certain everything is working (including the audio!) and you won’t waste your client’s time ironing out the kinks.
How to use Namastream to build out your online coaching offerings
Hopefully by now, you’re raring to go and can hardly wait to build and start marketing your one-on-one online coaching offering! Your final step will be to choose the right platform. We’ve whipped up this quick video below so you can see how Namastream could benefit you, your clients, and your business!