And I’ve seen a LOT of these businesses come and go in the last decade…
I’ve done my best to stay on the bleeding edge and learn from them - both what they did right and where they fell short - to better address the real-world concerns of the modern coach.
During this time, I’ve noticed that most platforms focus almost exclusively on the process of coaching.
They may emphasize specific training programs or endorse specific diets or philosophies.
They may focus on sport psychology to ensure that your athletes perform their best and consistently improve their performance.
But they fall short on something that’s completely crucial to a successful coaching business… And it’s a huge blind spot I constantly see from my coaching colleagues.
Very rarely do any of these platforms teach anything about the business of coaching itself.
I honestly don’t know of any company that even teaches you HOW to set up a training session in a general sense - it’s all focused on selling you a specific training program or product that the founder endorses (and often benefits from financially).
The result? Coaches are rarely explicitly taught how to structure their BUSINESS for long-term success.
And that’s exactly why we’re so passionate about teaching the business side of coaching at The ConnectedCoach Academy.
Because, look. It’s likely that if you’re reading this, you have a good understanding of the technical pieces of coaching your sport. You probably have a system in place that works for you and gets results for your athletes.
But it is likely a system born out of pure trial and error - there just aren’t many resources available to new coaches who are trying to enter this space.
So.. What’s the problem with that?
Simple. When coaches are missing a “holistic overview of how to structure their business, they make a ton of mistakes that bite them down the road.
The biggest one I’ve noticed is the impulse to just sell lessons… I.e. basing the foundation of your business around selling your time for money.
Here I go again.
Every entrepreneur in any other industry will tell you that exchanging time for money is a bad idea. The most successful businesses in the world master the art of productizing their knowledge, skills etc. and implement systems that sell their product or service 24/7.
Why should your coaching business be any different?
Now I’m not naive here. I understand that it can be daunting trying to escape the time for money equation entirely…
But I encourage you to set up your business so you don’t need to depend on it exclusively.
(More on this topic in a recent post: You’re Not Just a Coach, You’re an Entrepreneur)
Without proper business training, coaches are also often missing the importance of niche for reaching your ideal customer and working with athletes that will leave you feeling fulfilled.
This is actually the first step to selling your expertise - creating “evergreen” products or courses that empower your clients to improve without requiring your constant attention.
Coaches that aren’t taught the business of coaching often face issues caused by outgrowing their foundation.
Let me explain…
Many coaches start by selling lessons to a few clients because they mistakenly believe it’s necessary for success. And then, before they know it, they’re working 40+ hours a week, making less than $60k per year, and likely burning out in the process.
(more about how this happened to me, and what you can do to prevent this, in these blog posts: Want To Be a Great Coach? Be a Little Selfish, How to Set Boundaries With Your Athletes, Burning Out at Your Coaching Job? Try Promoting Yourself).
Instead, I want to encourage you to set up a business foundation that is scalable.
As Spencer Arnold, Olympic coach and one of our powerhouse users, said in a recent interview (Podcast Link, Followup Interview): “Don’t assume you’re gonna have 20 clients forever, then be surprised when you have 200. Have the structure in place for 200+ from the get go.”
Again, these things may seem pretty straightforward, but they are rarely taught to coaches... It’s just something they have to figure out. And, unfortunately, they figure it out when it’s too late and tons of time and energy is wasted working on things that aren’t sustainable in the long run.
I think, at this point, you understand what I’m getting at..
But let me touch on one more point to really drive home WHY it’s so important to zoom out from the act of coaching to the bigger picture of how to structure your coaching business.
The coaching landscape is dynamic and will continue to change rapidly. COVID-19 changed the coaching game, forcing the industry to embrace remote coaching to some extent, and there really is no going back.
The businesses that were so focused on selling time for money (especially, in person) by and large resisted changing their offer to accommodate the digital landscape.
But there is something to be said for overkill here. There is a delicate balance of live and digital offerings that will vary from business to business. And in order to strike the right balance, you need to think about your business like an entrepreneur.
At The ConnectedCoach Academy, we understand this balance. We push heavily in favor of asynchronous communication, but we also understand the important human element of the coach-athlete relationship and why live sessions are often crucial to long term success.
I encourage you to read our best practices for Asynchronous communication, which includes a little scenario highlighting how it can help you save tons of time while helping your athletes improve even faster.
And check out our 3 Key Ingredients for Leveling Up Your live Coaching Sessions for advice on how to structure your live interactions (again, I think it’s a great resource and I wrote it because I haven’t seen something like this anywhere else!).
And, for a great take on how to structure your training and onboarding, check out this interview and Podcast episode with Spencer Arnold.
Coaching is a passion industry. You coach because you love your sport and seeing your athletes succeed.
But here’s a harsh truth: you need to understand a bit of marketing and a bit of business development to increase your likelihood of long term success and avoid burnout.
That’s why I’ll never be satisfied with just having a technology platform for coaches. The app itself is insufficient in my book – it’s my mission to also TEACH you how to build a sustainable business you love and make positive change in this industry that we both love so much.
And I hope we can help you do just that.
Here’s to sustainable growth and your long-term success!
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