Hey Coach Ponyling!
I remember standing in the elevator years ago with another, much more experienced, coach.
We were talking about earnings, and she said “I made about $80,000 last year.”
And I immediately blurted out: “I’d kill to make that!”
And now I laugh – because I made $80,000 in just a few days last month, and well over 6 figures in just a couple of weeks :).
You know what? I’ll be honest: It feels pretty good!
And, it’s also a freaking relief to be at this stage in my business.
So as I continue to grow my business past seven figures and beyond, I thought I’d share some of the biggest milestones that I’ve hit and when (and what you should also be paying attention to as you grow your business!).
Your First Business Milestone
Your first business milestone is in some ways the biggest.
It’s when you get your very first paying client.
And it’s so good, and so scary at the same time!
But overall, when you get your first paying client you cross the rubicon from hobbiest to real coach.
It took me about 7 weeks from when I quit my job to get my first real client, who paid me a couple thousand of dollars for my main coaching package.
BUT please keep in mind that I had spent a year getting my coaching certification, and then an additional few months behind the scenes before I quit working creating my coaching packages. While doing that I was also working on my selling mindset and how to sell coaching, and building my credibility as a coach. Basically, investing in my business knowledge. 🙂
(Here’s a great article to help you with your business knowledge if you need it!).
I feel like 3 months is a good amount of time to give yourself to get that very first client once you’ve got the foundation in place, which is always the hardest step.
Honestly, it’s hard to feel credible when no one has ever paid you – or to feel like a fraud when you tell people you have a coaching business and they ask how many clients you have and you have to say “umm…none? *sigh*”
So, give yourself 90 days once you start building your business knowledge and get out there and land that first client, and if you can do it faster GO YOU!! 🙂
Your Second Business Milestone
Your second milestone is when you start to develop your business systems.
You’ve landed a few clients, you feel *pretty* good and you want to start to look vastly more professional.
It’s time to get your systems into place!
These include your website (if you haven’t already), your online client scheduler (tools like TimeTrade or ScheduleOnce), and your beginning sales funnel.
What is your beginning sales funnel, you ask?
Well, it’s the system you set up to market your business, so that you drive people to either visit your website and sign up for your coaching package, or set up a time to consult with you about your services. With even a basic sales funnel in place, you can start to predict your income in a way that allows you to NOT breathe into a paper bag all the time, and actually make plans in your business instead of spinning your wheels and panicking.
So – to that point: I was DEFINITELY spinning my wheels a lot in the beginning, partially because I moved across the country and also spent some time in Europe in the first 6 months I was full time in my business.
I also didn’t really set up a super solid sales funnel right away, and that’s something I regret.
It took me about 9 months from when I quit to get to the point where I was able to focus on a specific type of marketing (I focused on public speaking in the beginning) and develop a system where I could get people to buy my introductory coaching package – priced at $99 – and then get them to sign onto my $3500 or $5000 dollar package.
I started to get really good at it around 10 – 11 months.
Your Second (and a half) Milestone
Your second (and a half) business milestone is when you raise your rates!
And I’m not talking about a tiny rate raise – I’m talking about when you have a few clients, start getting results, and realize “Wow, I should be charging more” and go from $1000 a package to $2000 a package.
Or $2000 to $5000!
It’s scary at first because it feels weird to charge more AND you don’t want to alienate people.
I have definitely felt that.
But, I’ve found that when you raise your rates you DO turn off some people and price people out of your coaching, and that’s okay. Why? Because you attract people who are happy and willing to pay you and who are committed to doing the work (so that they actually get better results).
So, the scary goes away, and the benefits just keep coming!
**If you want to still be an affordable coach and raising your rates sticks in your craw, consider having a scholarship or setting aside a few hours a month for free coaching for those who can’t afford your services.**
Now is also when you realize (if you haven’t quit your job already) – that you CAN do this full time and moreover, it’s time to quit!
Your Third BIG Business Milestone
Your third biggest milestone is when you begin to come up for air and realize “I need to leverage my time better.”
And that’s when you either write your first book, or create your first DIY program, or sell your very first group coaching program.
Basically, you realize that you can only work so many hours in a day, and you want to be able to help more people (and NOT charge them an arm and a leg!) so you decide to leverage your time and reach more people by creating something that can serve many, instead of just a few.
I started when I created my first virtual group coaching program. In the very beginning, it was just a simple teleclass with kind of lame looking worksheets I had created.
And it was free.
Yep, I did a free program to help me work out the kinks and refine my material – I emailed a few people in my network announcing I had a few spots open, and I filled it in 3 hours :).
Then, I did it again, but charged for it! Not a lot – I think around $99? Maybe $197? I can’t remember, but it wasn’t much for 7 weeks of live coaching.
Anyway – that’s the beginning of how the Career Happiness Revolution came to be (which has now made me hundreds of thousands of dollars just on its own!).
I always recommend that coaches start out with even just a handful of private clients before they try to do something bigger – private coaching is instantly profitable and takes the least amount of infrastructure or technology. AND it allows you to hone in on your system, gather great testimonials, and build your confidence.
I knew VERY early that I wanted a primarily online business with DIY and group programs. So, I started leveraging my time with my free class around month 3 of my business.
BUT – I didn’t really start making good money on group coaching until I was 1.5 years in. I was a little scattered in the beginning, and I also needed private clients to pay my rent, so it took me a little while to ramp up to seeing big payoffs on the group side.
You might be faster than me *wink*.
Your 4th Big Business Milestone
Is….cracking 6 figures. YEP. (Note, it’s okay if some of these milestones happen out of order).
It’s the next big rubicon for most coaches.
I made plenty of money as a consultant, so I was determined to make back my income and then some as fast as possible, so 6 figures was a baseline metric of success for me to replace my old life.
I thought I’d do it in a year.
Ahhh…I laugh at myself now!
Considering I lost about 6 months wandering around the country and figuring things out, I feel lucky that it only took me right around 2 years to make an annual 6 figure income (it took about 18 – 20 months to make 6 figures in my entire business, from inception).
And That Final Business Milestone…
Well, the final business milestone is simple: It’s whatever is next for you.
For me, it’s serving 10,000 paying clients – because I’ve hit all of my wildest revenue goals and now I just want to help as many folks as possible.
It’ll take some steely-eyed determination, because…
…I have sparkly object syndrome and have gotten distracted by products and ideas over the years, and I feel like that has slowed down my growth somewhat.
I grew faster when I learned to focus on only one or two major offerings, and really became THE BEST at those.
So, no matter where you are in your business, learn to do ONE thing well, and then do it. And then learn to do the next thing, and then do that.
Don’t be in constant learner or constant creator syndrome.
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