How to Start an Online Group Coaching Business (and Scale Fast)

  • Written By:
    Ann Smarty
  • Published On:
    November 23rd, 2021
  • Read Time:
    4 Mins
  • Category:
    Growth

These days people all over the world are looking to monetize their unique expertise and one of the best ways to do that is through starting an online group coaching business.

What is Online Group Coaching?

Online group coaching is providing support, resources and guidelines to people wishing to achieve a specific goal.

Unlike face-to-face coaching, an online coaching group can include hundreds or thousands of participants – which makes it more affordable (and easier to scale for an organizer).

Here are a few possible formats an online group coaching program can take:

  • Give access to a private forum or discussion boards
  • Live group calls (via programs like Zoom)
  • Give access to an exclusive collection of tutorials and resources (possibly with an addon enabling participants to ask the founder questions to get help with personal issues any of them can encounter when independently going through those resources)
  • Exclusive email newsletter making it easier for the participants to learn something new, one email at a time, or enabling them to quickly find out about most recent news or trends
  • A mix of all or any formats from above

There are, of course, more formats (like hosting regular webinars or even online events) but I picked those formats that are the easiest to scale.

Step 1: Identify What You Are Going to Teach

Finding a topic to build a coaching program will mostly rely on your expertise. It doesn’t have to be your professional expertise (although it could be). It can be personal experience as well, like coping with a breakup or learning to be productive.

Whatever it is, to identify your program angle:

  • Identify problems that exist in your niche
  • Find how these problems can be solved

To identify a problem your coaching business will be solving:

  • Think about issues your customers or readers are struggling with. If you currently manage client-facing teams or employees (like sales reps or customer support teams), talk to them!
  • Ask questions on social media. Which problems are your friends and followers experiencing and how can you help solve them?
  • Research questions that exist in your niche. SEO-driven keyword research will also help you estimate a demand for a particular topic. Is there a search volume associated with a particular topic? If so, there must be a demand.
  • Think about your own experience: Which problems were you experiencing and how did you cope with them? Do you think it is a common problem?

Once you clearly know the problem-solution core of your program, you are ready to get started.

Step 2: Research Your Competition

At this point the main question you are going to ask yourself will be: How is my coaching program going to be different from my competition?

In other words, what’s my unique value proposition?

Hopefully, based on step 1, your most valuable competitive advantage will be your unique, first-hand knowledge and experience.

But that is not enough.

Most coaches in your niche will (claim to) have that, so give it some serious thought.

What makes your coaching program unique?

Knowing an answer to this question is key and will define all your further steps.

Spend some time watching TED talks on your topic. These are usually very enlightening and will help you get inspired.

Step 3: Pick Your Format (That’s Easy to Scale)

When you are starting, pick the format that is the easiest to set up. When your business picks up, you will be able to add more and more formats and offer your customers more and more addons.

Some of the easiest formats (which can also be scaled) include:

  • Exclusive knowledge base: Collect your resources into a single handy dashboard for your customers to access. You can set one up using a plugin or a theme. These could include downloadable resources (ebooks, checklists, cheatsheets, etc.)
  • A private group: Allow your members to ask you (and each other) questions. This community empowerment will help you identify most active members of your program to later turn them into your team members or even partners. You can start with a Facebook or Slack group. Neither of those requires any kind of set-up.
  • Email marketing: Set up email automation rules to deliver your program customers one lesson (e.g. weekly tips, daily motivation, etc.) on a regular basis. PaykickStart offers a variety of email marketing integrations, including AWeber, GetResponse, MailChimp and many others.
Email marketing integrations
Email marketing integrations

Additionally, PayKickstart offers a solid suite for coaches to set up a payment gateway, tracking your sales reps, managing payments and more: 

Setting up a coaching business with PayKickstart
Setting up a coaching business with PayKickstart

Step 4: Create Your Content

When you know your formats, you can start creating your content assets. I usually start with an outline of my future program. Using a simple spreadsheet, plan out:

  • Future lessons or chapters
  • Whether you already wrote anything on this topic (something you could repackage)
  • Whether this could also be turned into a downloadable asset
  • When you think this will be done (Putting dates always helps get things done!)

Again, you don’t need to have everything ready. Once you launch, you can continue adding assets and expanding your content. Think of the bare minimum for you to be able to launch.

Further reading: How to Use Derivative Products to Repurpose Content and Create a New Offer

Step 5: Promote

Promoting your online group coaching program is an on-going process. You can start by using your existing channels (your current email list, your social media accounts, your website, etc.) and later branch out to third-party resources (social media ads, other people’s newsletters, etc.)

Your content creation process will also largely define your future promotional strategy. For example, if you include videos into your content plan, you can create public versions of those and promote them on Youtube. If you create an ebook, you will be able to give its abridged version as a freebie:

Create your coaching business marketing around your content
Create your coaching business marketing around your content

Further reading: How to Create a Successful Loyalty Program

Conclusion

Starting (and scaling) a group coaching business is doable, if you know a good topic and can provide solutions. Once you know what you can teach or how your unique expertise can help, just follow the steps above and give it a try!

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Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, as well as co-founder of Viral Content Bee. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for over a decade, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of a weekly Twitter chat #vcbuzz

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