When I first started my online coaching business, it was total trial and error. I came from a career in the marine and oil & gas industry and I’d run my own successful consulting business, but I didn’t have an online presence.
Being online, having a website, posting on social media and all of that was completely new to me.
But after some trial and error (loads of mistakes and lots of wins!), I’ve settled into a framework that I come back to again and again.
My “strategy” hasn’t changed dramatically in 5 years, but my focus areas have.
For example, it’s always been important for me to get on calls with potential clients. It was then, it is now.
My focus in the early days was to generate sales. When you’re first starting out, being in action and making sales is your number one focus. Then, as your business grows and evolves, you may still need to be getting on calls with customers to make sales, but perhaps you’re more in a season of optimizing your offers, only selling to ideal clients and tweaking your processes.
Similar strategy, different focus.
Let’s dive into the 5 areas you can focus on, to grow your business organically.
Here’s the 5-part framework that I’m still rocking today:
1. VOICE + VISIBILITY
This is all about being visible to your customers and potential clients so they can see you, and hear your message. Ask yourself these questions:
- Where are you showing up and sharing your voice?
- How are you sharing your voice, your truth, your wisdom?
- Where are you being intentionally visible to your potential clients?
- If they’re looking for you….can they find you?
- What will they find when they google you/search you up on FB, check your IG or LinkedIn?
- What do you stand for? What are you known for? What do you want to be known for?
- What truths do you want to yell from your rooftops? (Yes, taking a stand will turn some people away. Those people are not your clients so the sooner you can feel comfortable sharing your voice, without worrying what others think, the better).
PRO TIP: If a client is looking for you, it better be more than cat and dog photos on your Instagram if you want them to contact you. (See also: 7 Steps to Building an Online Audience of Your Ideal Coaching Clients)
Think about how rocks are formed or layered cake cakes are made. One layer goes on top of the next until a full rock/cake is created. Build the layers as you go and don’t worry about having ALL THE LAYERS FIRST.
Just start with one layer of visibility and add as you go.
2. CONNECTIONS + RELATIONSHIPS
You can build your business by making one connection at a time — in fact, you should! Building a business is all about connecting, kinda like building lego. But it’s up to you, especially in the early days, to reach out to others first. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are YOU reaching out to? Who are you creating connections with?
- What kind of business connections are you committed to making?
- Who can you connect with and offer to guest teach inside of their program?
- Are you asking people to refer you? What makes you referable?
PRO TIP: You build a business one client at a time. Stop thinking about how to reach everyone and start thinking strategically on who it would be best to connect with. Some of my clients don’t have email lists, they don’t show up on social, and instead, they have mastered connecting and creating relationships that result in them getting clients and referals.
When I first started working online, I guest taught in three people’s programs which led to more than $30k in sales that first year! And that doesn’t even count the sales I made as a result of guest teaching. It also helped me feel more confident in my coaching, figure out my niche and I was able to build relationships out of those early connections that still reverberate today.
3. ENGAGEMENT + NURTURING
This part is my favourite — nurturing and engaging with the amazing people who come inside your orbit. Most people won’t buy from you the second the find you, so you need to have a plan for how you’ll create engagement, to nurture your people over time. Ask yourself these questions:
- How are you creating and maintaining engagement with potential clients?
- What are you doing to nurture them along in their journey (while staying connected to your and your work)?
- How are you supporting people who may want to get to know you?
- What kind of opportunities are you giving people to interact with you? (People don’t usually buy right away — they need to get to know you!)
PRO TIP: This can be as simple as having great calls to actions on your Instagram posts that encourage interaction (and free voice of customer research — > see next point).
Some of my favorites are:
“What resonates most with you?”
“Tell me where you’re stuck”
“What kind of support are you looking for?”
You can engage and connect within an email list, through a blog or podcast, or by hosting lives or low costs workshops where people have the chance to connect with you. Even having conversations in the DMs can be considered engagement and nurturing.
4. LISTEN + LEARN
It took me a couple years to really figure this one out, but once you master this, your business revenue will start to take off. You messages will CONVERT!
But in order to convert, you need to be able to listen and learn along the way, and maybe check your own intentions at the door, so you can really hear what clients are saying. Ask yourself these questions:
- How are you gathering the voice of your customers to weave through your content, offers and programs? You need to go beyond what you want to sell and you need to learn how to listen on a soul level to what your clients are saying. And then speak THEIR language!
- What lessons can you take from your clients, to make your offers even better? Maybe you don’t need to constantly be creating new things and instead you simply need to listen, learn and make some tweaks to an existing offer, to make it even better?
- How committed are you to LEARNING from your clients?
- Where can you add value to their experience? How can you make it even better?
PRO TIP: You can gather free voice of customer intel through discovery calls, intake forms, comments and DMs on social, surveys etc).
Also, when it comes to listening and learning think about finding some expanders. These are people who are doing what YOU want to be doing.
Who are your “expanders?” Who is successfully doing the work that you do but is a few years ahead of you? What are they doing that works? (we look to them not to compare but to be inspired and see what’s possible if we stay the course). What can you learn from them?
5. MONEY + SALES
A business would not be a business without sales, would it? No matter what stage of business that you’re in, you need sales. You need revenue and cash flow, today and tomorrow and all the following days. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who can you reach out to today that might be a good fit for your offers? Who needs what you’re selling? Where are they?
- How can you take responsibility to let them know about you? (See also: 5 Steps to a Discovery Call You Can Feel Good About).
- Do you have invoices to follow up on?
- Do you have an existing product that you can sell? (most of my clients have loads of stuff they could sell — they just need to do it!)
- Did you just launch? Can you offer a downsell for the people who didn’t buy your bigger offer?
- How can you make a sale TODAY?
- And….how can you make sales in 6 months? What systems and processes do you need to be working on today, so you’ll have revenue 6 months from now?
Now over to you!
Look through your business model and see if you have focus on each of these areas – no matter what stage of business you’re in.
Let me know in the comments which action steps you’re committed to implementing today!