How I Got My First $2500 Client (Feel Free To Steal)

how I got my first client

Hey Coach Ponyling!

A few years ago I was in the middle of a big launch for my career business, The Revolutionary Club.  We had 7 different landing pages, 4 major marketing platforms, thousands of people participating in a live challenge, 3 live webinars, two sales pages, and I sent 35+ different emails over just a few days.

I remember talking to my team about the moving parts of the launch, and then immediately laughing.

I was laughing because 8+ years ago, right before I quit my job, I had no idea what a landing page was. Or what a sales page was. Or how to market. Or how to create an extensive online program (or portal!).

I remember thinking that getting *any* real people to pay me for coaching was like finding the holy grail.

I had NO IDEA how to get clients, run a business, or do anything besides, well, the actual coaching.

I also remember thinking to myself: “I will do almost anything to get someone to tell me how they got their first clients in overly zealous detail. Anything!”

So, if this is you today, allow me to share how I got that very first $2500 client in the hopes that it helps you land yours. Let the zealous detail begin!


I knew I wanted a global business like I have today, one with clients from all over the world doing programs that allowed me to leverage my time.

So, when I first began, I pushed myself to get out and market to as many people as possible and I also built a robust website for credibility. I knew that referrals would not be enough to build the kind of business I wanted :).

I invested in my learning and my website, so I could build my business faster (I knew I had no idea what I was doing!).

How I got my first client, Step 1:

I wish I could say step one was that I polished myself up and did something amazing, but actually my first step was a deep panic. I stayed on my couch for an entire afternoon in a fetal position. I figured I needed to feel all the fear and then maybe I’d be able to do something productive afterwards.

Step 2:

I asked everyone in my network for event ideas  – interesting events that I could attend. Business owner events, events for women (at the time I was focused on helping only women with their work), events for work-related things. I also got on twitter and started following some local tastemakers, and noticed who they were following, and kept my eye out for tweet-ups, meet-ups, and anything in the local paper or on google in my area.

It took some legwork, but I did find a number of events through research, my network, and sheer luck. I went to BNI events, Women who Work events, Women Who Wine events, Women in Technology, Women in Heels, and random meet ups, to name a few. I even started my own meet up, I was committed!

Step 3:

I had my designer make me some business cards (I finally updated my old website to something much more awesome, you can read that story of what I did and what it all cost over here), and I put on my most “I’m a confident coach” suit, and sallied forth. This being DC, wearing a suit was natural.

I also worked on building out my first ever coaching package. The program was 10 private coaching sessions initially priced at $2,000, but I raised the price almost immediately to $2,500. It was a package around helping professional women find work they love.

Step 4:

At each event, I not only talked to anyone who looked friendly, but I also made it a point to talk to the organizers.

If it made sense for the group, I offered to speak at their next event (a lot of the groups I found met regularly and needed speakers). If it didn’t, I asked the organizers about other events and made mental notes if anything sounded interesting, something where I could learn, or a place where I might meet potential clients.

Many organizers were like: “Um. Yeah. No” when I pitched myself to speak. But more than you might think said “Yes” and, while I wasn’t invited to speak solo very often in the beginning, I did get to sit on panels or say a few words.

At home to prepare, I practiced saying my pricing out loud, and also practiced talking about my coaching package and why it was useful.

Step 5:

For each event where I was a speaker, I proactively provided a biography with flattering image (the flattering image involved me and my sister out in a field using her nice camera for 20 minutes. We took several hundred photos, 2 of them turned out reasonable because I often photograph like I just got out of the asylum).

My biography had an active link to my website. I knew that the organizers would email their people with the speakers list to promote the events, so at least people might be attracted to my website and learn a little bit about me.

I also set up my Paypal account around now, so I’d have a way of taking payment from people online, without having to deal with checks or regular invoicing.

Step 6:

I showed up with plenty of business cards. My cards were actually the size of postcards, and had an offer on them for my introductory coaching package. It cost $97. I figured I could stand out and sell at the same time!

I put cards at every place, so people would have a reference of who I was.

Step 7:

I spoke! I tried to be charming, knowledgeable, and empathetic. I’m sure I failed at some of it, but it was progress so I didn’t judge myself too harshly. Mostly, I focused on two things: 1) What is a big thing this group is struggling with that’s in my wheelhouse? And 2) What is one big insight I can share that can help them immediately?

Step 8:

I invited people to work with me at the end of my talk, referencing my special offer on my business cards. (Note: I found one of my old giant cards! See below).

I was hoping that someone would take a chance on me.

Step 9:

I checked email obsessively. My email was all over my business cards and on my email signature.

Right after my second speaking engagement, I got an email from a prospective client! She said she hadn’t attended the event but had seen my bio online and checked me out. She wanted to talk about coaching. My inner monologue was all “!!!!!.”

Step 10:

I set up a call with her. I was SO NERVOUS. I didn’t have any paying clients yet, I was only weeks into my business full-time, and while I knew I had good coaching skills, I was so new at selling them I wanted to breathe into a paper bag.

Step 11:

We chatted. I was lucky – she was someone who knew her own mind and was decisive about what she wanted and what she thought was possible with coaching. She didn’t ask me much about my experience, seeing me on the speaker’s list of a group she knew well made me a known and trusted commodity.

She asked my price, I walked her through my system and why I thought it could help her, and she said …. yes!

Step 12:

I danced around my apartment for a few minutes.

Then I spent some time being terrified. My first client! I had to get it right!! (I think your first big paying client is always a little terrifying).

But that’s a story for another day.

So, I hope this helps! And if it does, can you please share it? I know more coaches out there need to hear real stories.

Step 13: Do this one right now!

Need more help?

I know when I first started I wish I had had advice on how to start a coaching business from someone who wasn’t just a business coach, but a real coach who had found paying clients in his or her field.

So, I’ve created Couch School. It’s a free weekly business training delivered on Sunday right to your email inbox.

Each week you’ll get a business tip + one action to take to help you start and grow your business. All you have to do is open + read the emails!

And when you sign up we’ll also send you a free guide on how to find paying clients. That’s just a fun bonus 🙂

Join 20,000+ other coaches in Couch School each Sunday right here.

How to get your first paying coaching client #coaching #business

how I got my first $2500 client