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“The Whole Truth About Coaching Business” Why Only 9% of Coaches Succeed, While All the Rest Fail, And What You Must Do to Prosper in Coaching

By Milana Leshinsky

Copyright Š 2009, & Milana Leshinsky

Warning! The information in this document contains strong explicit opinions about coaching and may offend some people. Its purpose is to be an eyeopener for those coaches who have been struggling financially and want to understand why, as well as to find more effective ways to build a highincome coaching business faster.


Copyright Š 2009, & Milana Leshinsky

About the Author

As the founder of ACCPOW, the Association of Coaching & Consulting Professionals on the Web; originator of the Coaching Telesummit; host of the annual Coaching Super Summit; and the author of "Coaching Millions," Milana Leshinsky has been called the "MEGA Coach" of the industry. Milana came to the United States 16 years ago as an accomplished classical musician. After several years of financial struggle, she found a new passion in entrepreneurship. Today she works with coaches and entrepreneurs helping them uncover hidden profit centers, maximize their existing revenue streams, develop highly effective virtual support teams, and create million-dollar coaching and information business empires. Milana lives with her husband and two children in her dream home in Pennsylvania. To learn more about Milana, for resources to increase your coaching income and grow your coaching business, go to


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Table of Contents Note from the Author.............................................................5 Why The New Coaching Manifesto? .....................................6 The Biggest Coaching Paradox .............................................6 Coaching Anybody on Anything .......................................... 8 It’s Never Too Early to Niche! .............................................10 How Coaches Coaching Coaches Limits the Growth of The Coaching Industry............................................................... 11 Why “Non-Coaches” Are Doing the Coaching and What We Can Learn From Their Success................................................... 13 How Marketing Aversion Hurts Coaches and How to Successfully Overcome It ......................................................................... 14 How Low Quality Mailing List Holds You Back, and How to Build a High Quality List Fast and Easy...................................... 19 Coaching Burnout: Practice vs. Business .......................... 20 It’s Not a Time Management Problem ................................22 Why I Hired Two Coaches This Year ................................. 24 What Is Real Coaching And Who Is to Say? .......................25 Becoming Irreplaceable in Your Business ......................... 26 Can Info-Products Replace Coaching? .............................. 29 The “X” Factor in Replicating Success ................................ 31 Three Biggest Mistakes Most Coaches Make That Keep Them Struggling for Cash and Clients…………………………………….32 Conclusion............................................................................35


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Note from the Author I’ve been working in the coaching industry for over eight years and I studied thousands of coaching businesses, and what I discovered was that only 9% of coaches actually achieve their financial goal of six figures. It’s a shocking statistic, especially because everyone tells you how promising this coaching career is! Just talk to clients on the phone, make $100 an hour, and you’ll achieve your financial independence. Well, the reality shows that it doesn’t work quite like that and many coaches are struggling. And it has nothing to do with how long you’ve been in business. I’ve talked to some 10-year coaching veterans who are still struggling. By the time you’re done reading this document you’re going to understand the top mistakes most coaches make, and how to avoid becoming part of this statistic. After I published my “New Coaching Manifesto” earlier this year, I received many responses. I expected to be “eaten alive” and held my breath as I pressed the “Send” button. Instead, my e-mail box and my blog were flooded with a lot of positive feedback and heart-felt stories. I thank you for that! Despite a lot of positive comments, some readers disagreed on a few things, so I wanted to take a moment to respond. I thank you in advance for your open mind and the ability to see things beyond your current thinking and business situation. Milana Leshinsky


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Why The New Coaching Manifesto? Less than 10% of coaches ever reach a six-figure income. But even of those who are so fortunate to achieve their financial goals, 99% are not free from their business. They create something they begin to dread after a while, and have no idea where they’ve gone wrong in building their coaching practice. One of the biggest reasons for so many challenges in our industry is that everyone is too busy trying to define what coaching is. In fact, they completely ignore the most important thing to focus on – looking for more ways to create value and results for clients. As more coaches and “non-coaches” (people who coach without any formal training) are entering the field, competition is “boiling” up. I’ve watched some coaches’ hair stand up on the back of their necks when they saw another coach introduce herself at a networking meeting. An owner of one of the wellknown coaching organizations didn’t want to have anything to do with me just because the event I was speaking at fell on the date of his own event. Things have gone a little crazy, and most coaches have no idea what to do about that and how to become one of the 9% who actually thrive in this field. Coaching is not really a service industry, like so many people believe. It’s a value creation industry. Those coaches who REALLY get this concept and apply it in their businesses, will be able to reach and coach the most people, become very wealthy in the process, and live their ultimate lifestyle. The “New Coaching Manifesto” was created to show you how 9% of coaches rise to the top. Get comfortable and get ready to enjoy the ride.

The Biggest Coaching Paradox It’s a shame that so many people in coaching are struggling. Many efforts have been made in the coaching industry to distinguish coaching from other professions, such as therapists, consultants, counselors and mentors. Even more efforts have been made to be taken seriously as a profession.


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There are hundreds of organizations dedicated to maintaining the status of coaching as a profession. Yet, most of their members are broke or earning under $45,000 a year. The saddest thing is that many coaches settle for what their peers tell them they can make. Six or seven figures become unattainable in their minds, because they don’t know anyone who makes that much in coaching, so they make their peace with whatever they can get. Everyone is excited about the idea of coaching and its amazing potential, but the majority of coaches can’t seem to break into the next level of income. There are several reasons why this is happening. First of all, it takes forever for someone to understand what you do if you say you are a coach, because most people still don’t know what a coach does. The truth is, they don’t have to know what you do or how you do it. They just need to know what problem you solve. You can be a life design expert, career strategist, business advisor, parenting guru, goal setting specialist, or relationship coach. Yes, you can absolutely use the word “coach” describing what you do, but your “title” should clearly communicate what types of problems you help solve. Coaching by itself doesn’t have a high-perceived value to potential clients, and it is not something that can be sold. When you try to explain what coaching is and how it is done, you only confuse your prospect. You can use your coaching skills and techniques to help your clients, but those coaches who attempt to explain the coaching process to prospects too soon may never have an opportunity to work with them. Another huge problem I see that prevents coaches from being successful is how they communicate. Using new-age “coachy” words could make you come across as odd or eccentric, and cost you many clients. The bottom line is that when you focus on coaching, your business suffers. When you position yourself as a problem solver, your business thrives.


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People come into coaching from all walks of life, with different background and education levels, and for different reasons. Some want to start a home-based business and coaching is considered one of the fastest growing and most lucrative businesses in the U.S. Others see it as a strategy for their own personal growth. Another problem with coaches struggling financially is that they coach others on abundance, while not feeling abundant themselves. Some might say it’s easier to coach another person than yourself, and while that’s true, it takes a certain mindset to influence someone’s path to success. If a coach is not feeling successful, her clients will be exposed to the thinking and the mentality that will keep them at the same level, creating a “vicious” cycle of being stuck, or even failure. It’s one thing to study something, it’s completely another thing to actually succeed at doing it personally. Such incongruence persists in coaching ends up affecting a lot of people. With struggling financially come other problems. When a coach is feeling financially desperate, she’s taking any client who comes along with no regard to whether this is someone she can help or not, and whether this is someone she’ll enjoy working with or not. This results in poor client results and a low level of fulfillment. Even if a coach is using the most pure “coach approach” (asking insightful questions without offering specific advice or information), she is still influencing a client in many ways. Her clients start thinking like her and talking like her. Many times the coach is thinking too small for her client because it’s as far as she can think for herself. So, the biggest coaching paradox is that coaches advise others on what they don’t have themselves. The question is how can we overcome this issue? In the rest of this document I will address the sources of this problem and present to you several simple, but mind-shifting solutions.

Coaching Anybody on Anything One of the biggest issues I’ve observed in coaching is entering the field as a generalist (and staying that way for years!). Those who come into this field from coach training schools believe that they can coach anybody on anything, and


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apply your coaching skills to any situation. While this might be true, does it mean that you should coach anyone? “If you need a little help learning to prioritize, set goals and organize your life, turning to a coach is a viable first step,” says Charleston Regional Business Journal in the article on coaching (October 20, 2003). If this is how others see coaching, no wonder there’s so much competition in the market place. No wonder critics suggest talking to a friend or a family member instead of paying hundreds of dollars to a stranger. Until a coach is willing to put her foot down and say, “I will specialize in this kind of coaching,” she will continue struggling and being largely underpaid for her skills and abilities that she truly brings to the table. She will also experience a lower retention rate because her clients simply don’t see a huge value, even if she’s a great coach. For whatever reason, many coaches have a huge resistance to selecting a niche to focus on in their business. In fact, this decision seems to be harder than choosing a spouse. Many coaches still struggle without a niche market, even after 5-10 years of being in coaching! I’ve also seen how coaches misunderstand the word “niche.” Saying that you’re a relationship coach is not enough. Your niche must imply what groups of people you work with. Some of the best niches also imply where you can find these groups of people quickly. For example, a “newlyweds' relationship coach” implies that she works with couples who just got married and want to improve or solidify their relationship. It also implies that these couples can be reached where newlyweds shop: bridal shops, wedding planners, financial planners and other service providers have customer databases you can tap into.


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Being a generalist is exactly what creates a low-paying client. I’ve watched highly intelligent, educated, and talented coaches ask for $300 a month in a careful and timid manner, holding their breath, waiting to hear a “I don’t think I can afford it…” in response. At the same time, I’ve seen coaches who charge $500 an hour, or $2500 a month. Are they better coaches? I guarantee you they are not! The only difference is that they’ve made a decision to become the master at one or two things, learn everything they need to know about their niche market, and position themselves as the number one coach to come to. If you work outside of a niche market right now, you’re probably spending a lot of time on traditional ways of getting clients: relationship building one-on-one, networking in small groups, asking for referrals, waiting for the word-of-mouth, hoping someone will pass your name to someone else. This is very time consuming and a lot less effective. Can you still build a business if you don’t have a niche? Yes, absolutely! But, you must have something else that pulls clients to you. For example, to have a mass appeal, you must have a unique persona, something that makes clients gravitate to you because of who you are. You should have a powerful message that you can be passionate about and not afraid to sell. You must develop great speaking or writing abilities so you could communicate your message to the masses. Finally, you must have persistence to keep getting your message out there via mass media, such as radio, TV, printed publications, as well as social media channels.

It’s Never Too Early to Niche! I can’t tell you how many coaches I talk to every week who are tired, exhausted, discouraged, and lost. They feel confused because, even though they were professionally trained as a coach, they still don’t have a coaching business. They’re also tired of watching in frustration how “so-called-coaches” get new clients and build successful businesses, while they continue to struggle. Kay writes: “My mentor coach says it is too early to niche so I am not getting any support there.”


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Kay, your mentor coach comes from the assumption that you’re “brand new” and couldn’t possibly deliver any value to a specific group of people. “Wait for the niche to find you,” she’s probably saying to you. The truth is, you may be brand new as a coach, but you are full of lifetime experiences! Look at your past careers, accomplishments, and obstacles you overcame. Think about your friends’ and family members’ experiences. Do you wish you could compress time? Why spend months or years dabbling in coaching when you can start generating income faster? Bottom line is, the sooner you choose a niche to work in, and the sooner you’ll start making money as a coach. Working inside a niche market does not mean that you will not work with anyone else. It simply means that you will focus all your time, efforts and resources on becoming THE coach in one specific area. You can continue working with other clients if you choose to, but your marketing will become so much easier and effective, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before. In fact, that’s the real secret many successful coaches will not tell you. They may know nothing about marketing, but building a business inside a specific niche is so much easier, they become successful much faster than anyone else.

How Coaches Coaching Coaches Limits the Growth of The Coaching Industry There are many coaches who coach or mentor other coaches. This has been happening to such great extent, that to the outsiders it seems that coaching is a multi-level marketing industry, a pyramid where coaches recruit other coaches to enter the business. Sometimes it happens naturally. For example, if you coach a working mother who wants to start a home-based business and stay at home with her children, you might start talking to her about becoming a coach because of how convenient and potentially lucrative it is. While it’s great to see “senior” coaches support “junior” coaches, the problem is that many coaches do this without any experience in the real world. Many coaches end up coaching other coaches just because they are doing a little better than their clients, which I think is absolutely ridiculous.


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International Association of Coaches Code of Ethics says that coaches must “see their own limitations in training other coaches.” So, if a coach primarily coaches other coaches, nobody is getting better at growing their business in this “coach-to-coach cycle.” The more coaches work with other coaches, the fewer people in the world benefit from getting coached, and the fewer coaches become financially successful. Consequently, more people are turning to “non-coaches” for help on specific challenges and goals they want to solve and accomplish. The best advice I’ve ever gotten about hiring the right coach was to find a coach who successfully built the business model I want to build myself. This way I can learn from his lessons, mistakes and experience. So, if a coach who hasn’t built a successful business tries to help other coaches, she becomes a part of the never-ending circle of incompetence. The only coaches who should be coaching other coaches are the ones who successfully built their own business in another niche market. This gives them the credibility to talk to other coaches from personal experience. It also allows coaches to be completely authentic and avoid any hypothetic conversations. One career coach has been very successful, working with 20-25 clients every month. Although she has enjoyed this kind of success, it’s become overwhelming to the point where she wishes to “unload” some of her clients. For her it makes sense to start coaching a couple of other career coaches, refer some of her business to them, and raise her own coaching fees. Another coach has mastered the skill of attracting and coaching medical doctors. It was a natural transition for her to create a program for other coaches who wanted to work with physicians, and charge good money for passing on her experience and helping them take a shortcut to reaching and coaching a lucrative niche market. Ideally, coaching coaches should be no more than 25% of your business. The rest of your business should focus on reaching and developing coaching systems in other niche markets.


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Why “Non-Coaches” Are Doing the Coaching and What We Can Learn From Their Success I’ll be the first one to confess, that watching Internet marketers and other business owners offer coaching programs used to make me angry and confused. How could people who never got any coach training, nor spent any amount of time mastering their coaching competencies could charge thousands of dollars to coach “unsuspecting” clients? Then I changed my mind. I realized that people who went through these coaching programs actually got great results. They came for specific outcomes and they got them, even though the people who coached them weren’t “real” coaches. In addition to producing great results for their clients, their coaching programs would always be full. So, instead of judging the “non-coaches,” I decided to investigate. What immediately stood out for me is the fact that “non-coaches” usually come into coaching with pre-existing business experience. They either own or used to own another business, and decided to offer coaching as additional income source or as a way to support their current customers. Either way, these people are already business savvy by the time they get to coaching, so their chances to succeed are much higher. They are also focused on specific results and tangible outcomes. In fact, they design their coaching programs around a specific target goal, and attract the clients who want to achieve it. Examples of specific target goals include writing a book, franchising a business, creating an association, getting accepted into an ivy league college, losing 20 pounds, and so on. Here’s something else that nobody wants to talk about. Most of these successful “non-coaches” coach business owners. That’s where the big money is. Business owners are willing to invest into their own growth and success. To them being coached is a necessary investment, while many individual clients you work with see coaching as something that would be “nice to get.” Does this mean you have to become a business coach instead of being a life or career coach? Not at all. It simply means that you have to focus on


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coaching people who recognize that they have an important goal to reach or a painful problem to solve, and are willing to pay to get help. “Non-coaches” focus their time, efforts and resources on reaching only the people who want the results and are willing to pay big bucks. “Real” coaches try to make the case that everyone should be able to afford coaching. So, what they do is trying to reach people who need coaching, instead of those who want it. Another interesting fact that has always fascinated me is financial expectations. If you go into coaching after already having made six figures, you're more likely to reach that amount again much faster, than those coaches who've never made that kind of money before. Most of these “non-coaches” have already generated significant revenue through their other business activities, and they expect nothing less than what they’re used to. So the mindset you go into your business with is very important. So, some of the biggest differences between officially trained coaches and “non-coaches” include being business savvy and working with people who are ready and willing to pay for coaching as a way to solve their problems or reach their goals.

How Marketing Aversion Hurts Coaches and How to Successfully Overcome It In case you didn’t know it, marketing makes the world go around. Think about it…Everything happens in the world because someone used marketing. Groceries get into the store, children enroll into schools, millions of people watch the Super Bowl, newspapers get dropped in front of your house…all results of marketing in action. How did you learn about coaching in the first place? Through marketing, of course. It might’ve been through word-of-mouth marketing, but someone who told you about it learned about coaching from an article, an interview, a book, a magazine, a web site, or another source. Marketing is simply helping people making a buying decision. Some marketing is done in a “used-car salesman” way. Other marketing is done through


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high quality “Harvard-style” article writing. But the bottom line of marketing is being in the right place, at the right time, with the right product or service. At my recent business conference I was demonstrating how to create an information product quickly, by simply interviewing an expert on the topic. A participant sitting in the front row raised his hand and asked me, “How do you sleep at night selling products of low value?” Indeed, the product we had created right in front of him seemed too simple, too short, and too easy to create. So, its value couldn’t possibly be high, or could it? The reality is that anyone who needed that information would gladly pay a hundred dollars to hear that interview. The fact that this conference participant didn’t see value in it simply means that he was the wrong customer for this product. One of the biggest goals of marketing is to get your message in front of the right customers. Think about how you react to long web sites. Some people call them “one banana” sites, which describe one product only and might be as much as twenty pages long. Do you feel disgusted by these web sites? Many coaches do. But think about this now. When you are considering buying a product that can solve a big problem you have, wouldn’t you want to know everything about this product before investing into it? I actually print out an entire web site if I am interested in the product. This way I could sit down and read the information thoroughly. Again, it’s about getting your message in front of the right customers. Those who are interested in your product or service will read your web site “from cover to cover,” thank you for all the valuable information you provided in it, and very likely purchase it from you.


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If you feel marketing averse, if you cringe every time you’re told you need to market your business, understand that you’re doing a disservice to yourself and others. If you have the solution to keep more marriages together, or to help more teenagers go to college, or to give someone a chance to run a successful business, why would you keep it to yourself? In fact, how dare you keep it yourself? Let the world know about it! Another side of marketing aversion is feeling guilty about charging people money. I think that every business owner at one time or another has felt that way. It’s human nature to want to help someone, especially when all it takes is a phone call and some of your time. I am sure that medical doctors who run their own practices feel guilty on a regular basis, doing what they do. Here’s something important to understand. The biggest reason people feel guilty about charging money is taking their expertise, experience and abilities for granted. It comes to you naturally, almost effortlessly, so why not give it away? The problem with giving coaching away is that it’s ultimately up to the client to succeed. They must take action and put in some time and efforts to see any results from coaching. But if they’re not paying for coaching, they are not as committed to taking action. In fact, they can walk away from your coaching any time they feel an obstacle is blocking their journey to success. I’ve even met some people who told me they don’t want to make lots of money. My question is, why not? What’s wrong with wanting to make a lot of money? Is someone is going to have less of it because you have more? Not at all, quite the opposite is true. Paying clients are ready and willing to take action, and look to you for guidance and expertise that will shorten their path. These clients will ultimately become your success stories, because obstacles will not stop them. They committed to reaching their goals no matter what, and they are happy to pay you to help them avoid many mistakes. To charge money for coaching you must have strong belief in what you sell. You must have complete and total confidence in your coaching programs and products. You cannot guarantee that your programs work, but what you can guarantee is that other people used your coaching approach, method or system to achieve great results.


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Let’s talk about some of the mind shifts and specific actions you can take to overcome marketing aversion. First of all, think about this: do you really hate "marketing," or just the "methods" that make you feel less than authentic? Let's face it, conventional marketing sucks. Who really wants to make a "name squeeze" page, memorize an elevator speech or learn to write hyped sales letters? The single most recommended marketing strategy for coaches is a newsletter. So as you start your coaching business, the first thing you’re told to do is start writing a monthly newsletter. After a few months you realize that newsletters don’t work (read as “don’t generate income”). All of a sudden marketing becomes difficult. A newsletter is the only method that can be easily understood and quickly applied by a new business owner, so what’s next? If the newsletter didn’t work, how DO you get coaching clients? You try different things, talk to different people, ask other coaches, and learn that they are struggling just as much as you are. But, if you're really good, you shouldn't have to market, right? Being good at what you do is important, and every good coach making great money is also good at "marketing" herself -- no matter what she calls it: attraction, networking, serving, referrals, etc. The truth is, it's really not "marketing" most coaches hate, its icky, slick willie "methods" we all resist. The solution is simple: use the strategies that make you feel great and that bring out the best in you. For example, many people are focused on the latest “gadgets” they can use to market their business: SEO, pay-per-click, blogs, podcasts, etc. No matter what “gadgets” show up every month, one thing always remains true: creating value for people is the best marketing strategy ever. Technology comes and goes (just ask those lost their income overnight when Google changed its searching algorithm), but creating value is forever.

What is value? In very plain terms, creating value is creating content. Most successful coaches and other business owners understand and apply this on a daily basis. If you’re not creating content, you’re not building a real value in your business. The best thing about this is that coaches have a big advantage when it comes to creating content! We can produce hundreds of pages of information


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simply by recording and transcribing a coaching program, series of teleseminars, and live coaching events. Just look inside your e-mail “Sent” folder…all those emails you send out daily contain hundreds of nuggets of your wisdom. As you can see, you already have all the content and all the value. The question is, are you using it to market your business? Are you creating special reports, articles, and audio excerpts and distributing them to tell people about your solutions? Another problem I see in how coaches approach marketing is their message. Many coaches have a weak and timid message. For a coach to make over $100,000 year, you simply must have an opinion. You have to go to the edge of what you believe in. That’s why I spent an entire morning at my recent Coaching Super Summit helping people define their biggest core message. It drives your entire business, your products, your programs, your clients and your partners. A strong message is something you really believe in. It can go against everything you hear in your field or your industry, but if you have powerful reasons to believe in it, put it out there. You’ll be surprised how many people are quietly thinking the same things, but are afraid to come out and say it. These are the people will be attracted to you and your coaching programs. Every coach has a newsletter. However, if you have defined your strong core message (your biggest belief and your biggest promise to your client), your newsletter will be read and recommended as the most valuable resource in your industry. Make a decision that your business plays two roles – coaching and marketing. Many coaches are too passive, waiting for referrals, acting as practitioners. Remember that people go to lawyers and doctors because they have to; they go to coaches because they want to. This means that you need to educate people with your content (products and events), and attract people who want to improve and grow and achieve big goals. You never want to lead with coaching – lead with an information product discussing the biggest problem your target market faces. Then you can have your product point to your coaching program on the “back-end,” enrolling only the clients who are willing and ready to take action now.


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How Low Quality Mailing List Holds You Back, and How to Build a High Quality List Fast and Easy The second biggest problem I see coaches struggle with is a mailing list that is either too small, too non-targeted, or both (most frequently the case). The first biggest problem, of course, being the lack of a niche. Most coaching databases start out with a list of friends, relatives, former co-workers and people you meet at networking events. These people have nothing in common, so the first time you sit down to write a newsletter, you’re at a loss. What to write about? What will they find helpful? Since they have nothing in common, creating a coaching program for them would be NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE. Instead, the coach settles for offering complimentary sessions and struggle trying to get $300 a month for her coaching sessions, feeling completely guilty for charging her friends. She’s keeping her rates low because she doesn’t believe that people from her list would be willing to pay more. Then someone tells her that she needs to survey her list before creating a coaching program. She follows this advice, but ends up surveying the people who have nothing in common and getting invalid data. She also tries to create some strategic alliances to build her mailing list faster, but she doesn’t feel like she has anything to offer to her partners. So she starts building her list slowly, one by one, using whatever method she can. In fact, I receive at least a couple of e-mails a day from coaches who simply decided to add me to their Outlook mailing list without ever asking. I find it fascinating because these are the same people who’ll give you a rant on why they hate “spam.” Because no one seems to be interested in her coaching services, her confidence in her ability to build a coaching business goes down. All of the above results from having a low quality mailing list. If you have a low quality mailing list right now, don’t survey them and don’t expect them to buy anything from you. Also, don’t waste your time creating a coaching program – you have no idea what they want.


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So what do you do? How do you get a responsive group of people who can’t wait for you to announce your next coaching program? If your goal is to build your coaching business faster rather than slowly, a niche is a must-have. Develop valuable content for your niche market, blast out a high quality article, and you’ll start collecting coaching leads faster than you ever thought possible. Information never gets old, but it must be of high quality and specialized. Your article must, too, be highly specialized. I’ve seen thousands of coaching articles that contain general discussion or common-sense advice. Go beyond that. Publishers and editors are looking for something special and relevant for their readers. Articles and special reports are not the only way to get people to come to your web site, but as you’re starting out in your business, it is the least expensive and most effective way to do it. Everyone who joins your mailing list does so because they have requested specialized information. Now you can survey them, get a lot of useful information and ultimately put together a specialized well-targeted coaching program they are very likely to enroll in.

Coaching Burnout: Practice vs. Business Most coaches don't think about it when becoming a coach, but this decision means the difference between a 9-5 "job" and an exciting lifestyle business with very few income limitations. When you go through coach training, the number one skill you acquire is coaching. So the most obvious thing for you to do once you done with your training is to coach.


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What most coaches don’t realize is that coaching is only a tool. You can help clients in many other ways, using many other tools. If you limit yourself to coaching people one-on-one, or even in groups, and make that your only source of income, you’re building a practice. There are several problems and limitations when you own a practice. You can only get paid when you coach, being “chained” to your telephone or office most of the day. You also develop a mentality of a practitioner or a technician, which means that you are the primary source of value in your business. You always have to be there in order for your business to continue. When you’re focused on building a practice, you fill your practice usually one client at a time through referrals or networking. If you stop getting referrals or going to networking meetings, your practice becomes smaller. So, you can never automate your marketing, because you always rely on taking action or having other people to take action. Another problem is how difficult it is for new coaches to get their practice going. During a survey over 50% of ICF coaches said it took them over 2 years to get their first paying coaching client. This means that most of these coaches had to rely on other income sources while trying to build their practice, and many gave up before succeeding. Finally, even if they are very persistent and successfully fill their practice, many coaches become burnt out from working with clients day in, day out. The excitement of a new business is gone, and unless they absolutely love the actual coaching process, they start dreading the sessions. They continue to coach, however, trying to fit in with the rest of the coaches So, the million-dollar question is, can coaching be done in ways other than one-on-one? An even more important question is, can you do coaching without your presence? Keeping in mind that coaching is just a tool that helps people make positive changes, the answer is a definite “Yes.” Coaching can be done through information products, live seminars, virtual teleseminars, mastermind groups, coaching clubs, retreats, “hot seats,” quick “laser” coaching sessions, fieldtrips, and books. There are thousands of people who can credit a seminar they attended or a CD the listened to that has changed their lives. The key is to use coaching techniques and strategies inside these products and events to evoke mind shifts and positive action.


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To avoid a burnout as a coach, you should be building a business where your income doesn't reflect how many clients you have or how many hours you spend on the phone. Your business model should include some one-on-one clients and group-coaching clients. But you also want to develop coaching products, membership sites, coaching clubs, teleseminars, and strategic alliances, so you could enjoy a business with multiple income streams. You know you succeeded building a real business when you reach the point of not needing coaching clients. You stop relying on one-on-one clients to sustain your business because your other income sources have taken off the ground. Even if you don’t want to do anything else in terms of creating content (developing products and seminars), the least you should be doing to achieve leverage in your business is creating group-coaching programs. You can still work with individual clients, but on a much higher level, both financially and commitment-wise. If you’re just starting out and not sure which road to take to coaching success, make a decision to build a real business. Don’t put yourself in the “box” of one-on-one coaching. Unleash your creativity, open yourself up to new ideas, think big, go wild, and you’ll be able to beat the statistic that catches up to so many coaches today.

It’s Not a Time Management Problem Everyone complains of not having enough time to be creative or to market. Let me assure you, that even the most successful person in the world (are you thinking of Richard Branson?) has the same 24 hours a day as you do. What does this person differently? Does he have better time management skills? Maybe…But so does a $15-an-hour office manager. Usually when I hear someone say they don’t have enough time, I interpret it as this: “I understand it’s important, but I am so overwhelmed with the details of how to get it done, I don’t have the mental energy to sit down and figure it out. I would pay someone to do it, but I can’t afford it, so I simply cannot do it at this time. I’ll put it on my to-do list for now, and when I have more time, I’ll sit


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down and attempt to figure it out...which is never going to actually happen, because something else will come along by then.” So, basically it’s not a time management problem. It’s being able to handle all the information and resources that are coming your way every day of your life from different sources. I see so many coaches “swimming” in all the advice they get, all the programs they enroll into, and all the products they buy, it’s ridiculous. If they would only stick to one program and follow it for 6-12 months, they would see amazing results. And not because the program is amazing, but because they’re actually doing it! Since most people don’t have the patience, and are looking only for “quick wins,” they end up jumping from program to program, product to product, looking for that magic strategy that will turn their business around. They end up with dozens of CDs, books, manuals, videos in their office closets, and still no results. That’s when they decide that they are too confused, they’re not a good marketer, and that marketing doesn’t work, anyway. All hugely successful people use principles of leverage. "Leverage mentality" is what makes super successful business owners say "NO" to a seemingly great project or a client. They know they can do better by investing their time and energy elsewhere. They can add hundreds or thousands of new leads to their database by putting together strategic alliances. They focus on one big project or strategy that’s going to make all the difference in their business, and throw out all the small ones that would take time and focus away from the more important one. My family, who comes from not only a lower middle class, but also from the former Soviet Union, always gives me a hard time about having a cleaning lady once a week. What they don’t see is that, while someone else is cleaning my house for $100, I can earn ten times more or develop something that will pay a hundred times more in the long run. In other words, I choose to work on the most profitable projects. The same goes for when I am invited to participate in something. I look at that time from two perspectives: a) Is it worth my time? and b) Is there something better I could I be doing with that time?


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Choose the right projects and have a bigger vision. Know the consequences of everything you say "yes" to. Everything you do should be about the lifestyle you want to experience and the goals you want to achieve.

Why I Hired Two Coaches This Year I want to talk about something that nobody ever talks about. My decision to hire two coaches this year made me realize how important this conversation is to every coach and every business owner, so here we go. There are two types of coaches in the world. There are coaches who do “pure” coaching. They focus on accountability, acceleration, and stretching you beyond what you think you’re capable of. They made a decision to dedicate themselves to your success. They are your fan, cheerleader, confidant, and “soundboard.” I call them “Implementation Coaches.” Then, there are coaches who accomplished what you want to accomplish. They successfully raised bright children, created fulfilling relationships, lost a lot of weight, mastered a skill, or built profitable businesses. They develop products and programs around their “formula for success” so they could share it with more people without investing their personal time. I call these coaches “Mentors.” If you’re lucky, you might find both in the same person. I’ve never met anyone like that. Usually, it’s because “Mentors” have become so successful at what they do, that they’re simply too busy to coach clients one-on-one. So, they create ways to “mentor” clients through group programs and “inner circles” and charge a lot of money to give access to their personal time. I’ve been fortunate enough to find two coaches this year who will no doubt help me get where I want to go. My “Mentor” built a business that I want to model. I am in awe of his success, and still can’t believe he has room for private clients! I am grateful for the opportunity to be exposed to his wisdom and expertise he gained over the years, and will take any amount of time he’s willing to give me. My “Implementation Coach” is great, as well. He has coached many clients to success, has an incredible ability to “read” me, and comes up with great ideas to help me move forward on the direction my “Mentor” suggested to take. I “clicked” with him in the first 15 minutes we spent together. (Frankly, I don’t care


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if I “click” with my “Mentor.” Lucky for me, he happens to be an amazing human being, but my primary objective is to learn from him, and hopefully have his success rub off on me through various forms of coaching that he does.) Here’s something else important… Your “Implementation Coach” must understand, appreciate, and “subscribe” to the ideas your “Mentor” is guiding you through. Otherwise, it will create a conflict in your strategy and may “paralyze” you in complete inaction. My “Implementation Coach” fully understands the business model I want to build, and is ready to support me. I see so many coaches try to follow the advice of different experts, systems, models, programs…No wonder they get nowhere.) Now that I’ve explained that two types of coaches and coaching relationships, let me ask you a question: What kind of a coach are you? And, if you’re an “Implementation Coach”, what do you need to do to become a “Mentor?” What have you accomplished in your life, career, or business successfully? What do people consider you an expert on? Should you even want to become a “Mentor?” The decision is entirely up to you. I am simply putting it out there and hope you think about it. Whew! You’re still with me? Interestingly enough, the coaches who recognize, appreciate, and apply their biggest accomplishments to their coaching businesses become much more successful than those who engage clients in “pure coaching.” Speaking of that, let’s get into another “sensitive” issue.

What Is Real Coaching And Who Is to Say? The distinction between coaching and other fields seems unavoidable. We try to “defend” what coaching is and, oh no-no, it is NOT consulting, NOT therapy, NOT mentoring, NOT training, NOT teaching!


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Unfortunately (or very fortunately for some!) the market doesn’t care. People don’t care if you help them transform their lives using coaching, consulting, therapy, mentoring, training, or teaching. They just want to reach their goals and overcome their problems faster! Barbara Saunders writes: “The radical critique of the “professionalization” of coaching is long overdue. I believe sports coaching and voice coaching and acting coaching are better models for life and business coaching than professional counseling. In those fields, licenses and certificates are not the norm; the test is knowing how to help people do a particular thing.” In other words, the results speak louder than any training or certification in the world. And that’s exactly what clients want, regardless of how you help them achieve it. Coaching is simply a tool you have at your disposal, but tools don’t sell – results do. Keep that in mind. Pascale Cotton from Switzerland writes: “I think that what [many successful people] provide under the label of “coaching” belongs more to the areas of counseling, mentoring, consulting or individual training, not “real” coaching. But what is “real” coaching?” Exactly! What is real coaching? And most importantly, who is to say what it is? Quoting the ICF, “Coaching is partnering with clients in a thoughtprovoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Very true, yes? We live to inspire others to transform their lives. Couldn’t that be said about motivational speakers, book authors, group leaders, and college professors? In addition, “coaching” does not equal “coach.” A coach may offer coaching, plus a variety of other services and products. In other words, a coach is in the business of transforming people’s lives by helping them solve problems and achieve goals. So who is to say what coaching is? YOU are!

Becoming Irreplaceable in Your Business One of the biggest mistakes coaches make is becoming an irreplaceable ingredient in their business. They make themselves such an integral part of their business operations that they could never leave or sell their business. In fact, their business simply would not exist without their presence.


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A busy dental or medical practice can be sold because of its location. Coaches, on the other hand, deliver services over the phone making the location irrelevant. A coaching client “buys” the coach herself, not the location. So, even if you successfully build a full practice, but then decide to walk away from it by selling it to another coach, your practice would instantly lose 90% of its value. The most important ingredient would be missing – YOU. But why even think about selling your coaching business? The point is not in selling it. You may decide to never sell it. The point is in knowing that you don’t have to be there for your business to produce revenue every minute of every day. It’s about knowing that if something were to happen – a divorce, an illness, a disability, or death - your business would go on and your family would be taken care of. It’s an amazing feeling, especially if you’re the “bread winner” in your family, to build a “business in a box.” And even if you were not, wouldn’t it be great to be able to pass your business on to your children, or to sell it for a lot of money if you decide to stop running it yourself? The reality is that, many coaching businesses will never reach this stage. It has to do with why people get into coaching in the first place and the decisions they make along the way. If you have a “solopreneur’s” mentality (what Michael E. Gerber also calls being a “Technician”), you’ll be missing one the most important benefits of owning a business: achieving complete and total freedom, both financial and emotional. You can never be free from your business, and your business can never exist without you. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to shift your thinking and change your business model…if you’re willing! It’s not just about building a team who can play the different roles in your business, and to whom you can


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delegate a lot of the work. It’s much more than that. Here’s the most important thing to understand about building a real business. Many coaches pride themselves on having unique talent or intuitive approach. When I hear that, I instantly know that this coach is most likely struggling. The reason she’s struggling is because her unique approach is inside her head, she can’t leverage it in any way. She absolutely MUST be there to deliver her unique talent, or the client will not get the value they paid for. The bottom line is if coaching is your only income source, you’ve become irreplaceable in your business. If you don’t have a documented process of how you produce results for your clients, you are painting yourself into a corner and will never be able to stop working in your business. Here’s a key distinction that, if you understand and apply, will allow you to reach this stage faster than any other coach. Build value beyond clients. Imagine that all your clients leave you today – will your business have any value? If the answer is “no,” keep reading. The way you build value is through creating content. Content that produces revenue even if you’re not there. I am not just talking about creating information products, although it is an important part of it. The biggest value you can possibly create is by documenting your coaching methodology, your process, and your special ways of helping your clients succeed. In other words, your coaching system. You might already have some pieces of it, like teleseminars, questionnaires, forms, e-mails, articles, e-books, CDs and other tools. What would it take for you to create a system out of everything you’ve got, that anyone else could use to coach your clients? That’s the ultimate question you want to answer for yourself. If you’re brand new to coaching, this question might seem strange to you. “Why would I want anyone else to coach my clients? I am the coach, I will coach my own clients.” That’s true; you can absolutely keep coaching clients for as long as you wish. And, you can document your coaching process so that, even if you no longer want to – or can – coach, your business still has value. That’s the mind shift I am encouraging you to make. Otherwise, all the efforts you’re putting into building your business will only have a short-term gain. “Bearing water by the sieve”– nothing to show for


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after all the years of hard work and creating results for others, you will have created nothing for yourself.

Can Info-Products Replace Coaching? Ronnie from Israel submitted the most controversial and insightful comments. She writes: E-zines, cds, teleclasses, ebooks, group coaching calls, books and more books on the same topics… Who has the time to buy and read al this stuff anyway? And how many books on the same topic does our world really need? Are we writing books just to say,” I have a book, interview me on the radio?” We all want to expand but there is no escaping the essence of the one- on-one coaching that can change a person’s life and make a difference. Is that not the reason that most of us came to coaching in the first place?” Ronnie, I appreciate what you’re saying. I had similar concerns a few years ago. What I discovered on my journey to building a coaching business, however, is that product development is not about stopping to coach individuals. The purpose of developing information products is three-fold: • • •

Creating credibility on a certain subject Leveraging yourself by creating different ways of getting the benefit of your expertise Grow a company that doesn’t rely on your presence

This means you need to think like a business person. Otherwise, what are you building? Will it last? Will you be happy trading time for dollars 10 years from now? Or can you “bottle” your expertise and allow it to live for years and years, even after you stop coaching personally? Ronnie raises more interesting questions: “I think the real challenge is how to do this in such a way that you don’t keep rehashing the same thing as everyone else. The business that runs without us, is it really worthy of that? A business that has our true value, expertise and “essence” and does not become a pile of autocontracted, virtual assisted, teleclasses, laser-coached and people who


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have “trained” with us for a weekend and so on…I think coaching is one of those professions that are really from the “heart” and really quite “personal”. That is where the value is created. It is really quite different than most other types of consultancy, if you ask me. So we have our work cut out for us to be creative, be economical but not at the expense of what our value is really all about…” Wow, I am so glad you bring up these issues, Ronnie! First of all, let’s talk about creating rehashed products. The key is in YOU and how you make it unique. Remember the “X” factor? It also applies to your personal story, background, emotions, and how other people relate to you. Someone might hear about law of attraction a thousand times, but when they hear it from YOU, they’ll say, “Wow, I never heard it put it this way, she’s really good.” So, personality in business is important, and capturing it in products and in process is very important. I am not saying that you should stop coaching and start creating products, not at all! All I am suggesting is that “capturing” your coaching process in a product allows you to offer it to people who: • • •

Can’t afford coaching; Aren’t ready to hire a coach; Don’t fit your ideal client profile.

It gives you a choice in your business, and it gives your customers a choice of how to work with you. Would I love to be coached by Toni Robbins, Brian Tracy, or Donald Trump personally? Absolutely! Do they have the time to coach everyone who comes along? Not humanly possible! That’s why they developed programs and products that allow them to transfer their “magic” through other people and methods. Their businesses can function without them. Donny Deutsch, on the other hand, is irreplaceable. That’s because the brilliance of his business is in his interviewing style and the unique personality he brings to “The Big Idea” show. (Although, I am sure that all his TV appearances will become a lifetime video archive for entrepreneurs for years to come.)


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Here’s one coach that sees product creation differently. Annette Reissfelder from Germany writes: “I love and thrive on the live interaction with highly motivated clients who have great ambitions. BUT: I can (and will) produce “products” to attract media interest, so that I am being invited to the right type of conferences, getting interviewed by the right people and magazines, or being asked to contribute to business dailies.” Bottom line is that the need for individual coaching will never disappear (heck, I just hired two coaches myself!), but it should be the LAST thing you offer to people! Leading with coaching as your primary service simply devalues it in the prospects’ eyes. Make people “jump through “hoops” to get to you personally. Only then will you get an ambitious, committed, passionate, and driven client who will succeed with you by her side…while building a rewarding and profitable business. I don’t see any other way to think about it. Do you?

The “X” Factor in Replicating Success I see it every day. New business owners try to replicate the success of someone they admire, but for whatever reason are unable to achieve the same results. They study it, follow the exact process, use the same exact strategies, but only get a fraction of the results their role model achieved. For example, I’ve watched several people try to replicate the “telesummit” concept I started back in 2005. Only a couple of them have been able to achieve similar level of success in their own niche markets. Many others who tried to follow in my footsteps became frustrated and ultimately cancelled the event due to low enrollment. I’ve tried to make sense of this for years. What’s missing? Why following a business concept blindly doesn’t work? I found my answer when I spent a year making the same mistake. I attempted to create a business just like my mentor’s. After a year of trying, I realized that I was building something I would dread running. This was a huge realization for me. I respected my mentor a great deal, so I never questioned his ideas. But what I learned was that, just because my mentor runs his business this way, doesn’t mean I should, too.


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There’s an “X” factor in every business venture – YOU. Your own unique abilities and passions affect the outcome of the process, even if you follow the same exact “formula” someone else used. The outcome of the process is also affected by your background, communications style, mindset, people who surround you, and even your confidence level. In other words, there is a whole bunch of other factors and variables that make one person succeed and another – fail. The good news is that this “X” factor is also what allows you to be different and unique. For example, in your coaching business you need to build the foundation and to understand the basic principles of business success. The rest you create based on your preferences, goals, and creativity. If you attempted to fly around the world in a balloon or speed across the Atlantic in a powerboat, trying to replicate the way Richard Branson creates buzz around his name, it could end disastrous. However, if you create a worldwide event to spotlight your company, you might achieve the same results (and actually live to see it!). The bottom line is, any time you’re trying to replicate someone’s success, apply the principles, not the strategies. Any time you enroll into a business-building program, make sure it teaches you the basic principles of succeeding with it, but also gives you enough room for creative freedom to express your best unique abilities. Otherwise, you’ll be building someone else’s idea of a successful business, not yours.

Three Biggest Mistakes Most Coaches Make That Keep Them Struggling for Cash and Clients We've come to the bottom line of this document: how do you create a coaching business where you become a client magnet, how do you create a consistent stream of new clients and a predictably growing cashflow in your business, and how do you stop struggling and start thriving? This is what I will show you next.


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Top Mistake #3: Wrong Focus Most coaches don't treat their coaching practice as a business. 90% of their focus is on mastering their skills coaching skills and only 10% on business. Please, understand that I believe that mastering your coaching skills is very important. What I don’t want to see coaches do is using coach training and certification as a business development strategy. So they keep getting more coach training, read every coaching book, get certification, practice their coaching skills, doing their sessions, and what they’re thinking is “If I become the best coach in the world, my business will grow.” Well, reality shows this doesn’t work. You can be the best coach in the world, but if you don’t know how to build a business you’re not going to be successful. By building your business, I mean learning how to market through social media, learning how to create strategic alliances with companies who can send hundreds of coaching clients your way, improving your copywriting skills, creating a personal brand that evokes strong emotion, learning about the art of public relations, and other vital business skills. These things are all business building skills, not coaching skills, and they’re the only things that will grow and expand your business. Remember, what you focus on expands. When you focus on coaching skills, you become a better coach. When you focus on business building, you build a better business. In fact, I promise you that if you focus on business building for the next 90 days your business will grow. Top Mistake #2: Trying To Sell Coaching What do most coaches say when they’re asked what they do? They say, “I am a coach, I do coaching.” Well, unfortunately coaching doesn’t sell. Coaching by itself has no value. Whether you like it or not, nobody wants to buy coaching. And there are many ways to sell coaching without actually selling coaching. Sell a system or a result, not the coaching.


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There are two things people don’t care about: they don’t care about YOU, and they don’t care about YOUR PROCESS! The only thing they care about is “what’s in it for me”, what is the result that I am going to get. When you go to a chiropractor, you don’t care which tool he uses or which bone he’s going to put pressure on. All you care about is that your back hurts and if you come and see your chiropractor, will your back stop hurting? People buy solutions to their specific problems, and they buy a system that will solve their problem. We have now come to the #1 mistake that most coaches make…This mistake is worth your entire hour with me! This is the mistake that keeps so many coaches struggling year after year. Are you ready? Top Mistake #1: Solo Structure When most coaches start their business, everything is set up with a solo structure in mind. Everything is setup to coach, market, and sell one-on-one, instead of one-to-many. And there are only so many hours in a week, so pretty soon they find themselves completely maxed out. So they create a situation where are working for time. I believe the problem lies in how most people define coaching. Most coaches believe that effective coaching can only be done in a 1-on-1 environment, and anything else just isn’t coaching. Well, going back to the whole idea that people want results, and they don’t care how that result is achieved, you could create a whole variety of ways to help your clients. Remember, coaching is just a tool in your toolbox. So if someone wants to lose weight, or get a job promotion, or improve their relationship – they don’t care how you get them there, as long as they get there. So if you haven’t done that yet, you want to start widening the scope of how you deliver coaching, so you could start making decisions that will bring a lot leverage into your business. Otherwise you’ll be stuck trading your time for money. When I am talking about a solo structure, it’s not just about coaching 1on-1, but it’s also about marketing 1-to-1. If you’re relying on free coaching sessions, referrals, networking, these are all 1-to-1 marketing methods, and they’re huge time eaters. Best-case scenario, what’s the most number of clients can you get from a free coaching session? One!


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But if you take same message and blast it through the many social media channels, strategic alliances, articles, teleseminars, and educational products, you can reach thousands of people! In fact, you could be booked for the next 6 months using from a single teleseminar!

Conclusion One of the biggest reasons coaches struggle financially is because they don’t feel like they have choices in their business. Coaching is what they do, and that’s the only way they generate revenue. Anything else simply doesn’t fit the idea of a “coaching business.” In reality, the coaches who build high-income businesses, while still enjoying their life and family, focus on creating many other revenue streams. They host coaching events, develop audio programs, organize strategic alliances, put teams of coaches together, create information products, and basically create a real company. Getting coaching clients becomes a “side effect” of everything they do. I wish you much success and look forward to welcoming you to the Coaching Millions community!

P.S. I welcome you to explore my blog, tools, and resources at, or contact me directly at P.P.S. To find out how I can help you build a successful coaching business, visit my products page at


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