I’ve been online since 1994. Over the years I’ve accumulated a wealth of wisdom, knowledge, experience, mistakes and successes.
No matter who you are, how old you are or what field you work in, be it selling cars, retail, or the finance industry, what you know and what you’ve experienced is worth money and can be used to create a side income stream for yourself that offsets one or more of your expenses.
This may seem like an odd topic to see in a blog called digital minimalism, but those of you who have met me personally know that I enjoy helping others. This is me helping you. I’m not speaking about writing an eBook. I’m not speaking about creating a full-time coaching business; but I am speaking about “Coaching”.
One of my income streams over the years, whether I’ve been employed full-time or working my own businesses as an entrepreneur, has been coaching – or, as I prefer to call it, “Helping Others”. I just happen to have found a way to get paid for it.
What is Coaching?
Simply put, coaching is a smaller, more intense, less expensive version of consulting where you pay someone who knows more about you about a certain topic for 30 to 60 minutes of their time by phone, in person or via Skype video call.
How to make money as a coach
1. Make it easy for clients to pay you. BE the Easy Button.
I use PayPal or Square, depending on whether I am taking a credit card over the phone or sending an invoice via email. Sign up for a PayPal account and order the PayPal debit MasterCard and you’ll be able to instantly use this side stream of income the same day to buy groceries, pay your cell phone bill, offset a monthly medical expense or take your significant other on a date.
2. Make a list of your Personal Asset Inventory
Take an Excel file or even a legal pad of paper. Go to a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted for an hour. On the left side, make a list of all the things you know more than the average person about. Don’t leave anything out and don’t feel you need to be an expert or have years of experience. You may work as a fitness instructor during the day but flip real estate as an income stream on the side. That qualifies you to coach others or answer questions about how to flip real estate, and people will pay you for your knowledge and your experience.
On the right side of your list, next to each asset, write down the types of people who might be willing to pay money – any amount of money – to spend TIME with you asking you questions about how to do what you do, what mistakes you’ve made, what tools to use, where to get more information, how to avoid getting ripped off – anything.
3. Set up Google Calendar to book your appointments
Yes, there are fee-based booking services that allow prospects and clients to automatically book your time online, but the goal here is NOT to incur additional expenses. The goal is to generate a small or large side income stream to offset one or more of your monthly expenses. Set the default on Google Calendar appointments to send you an SMS text message one hour prior to any coaching appointment to give you time to prepare.
4. Determine what to charge other people for your time
This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of coaching, but it need not be. Most people do it wrong. Instead of thinking of others, they think of their own needs instead of other people; and they don’t use logic.
A great example of this is one of the areas that I often coach clients on, which is the purchase and sale of Domain Names (www.somename.com).
Most people who believe they have a great domain name but who don’t know the industry will price the name using some completely illogical methodology, like how much they still owe on their boat loan, thinking that someone will pay that price and they’ll pay off their boat. This is what I call “uninformed thinking”. It’s also why it’s always worth paying someone who knows more than you about something for an hour of their time.
Like Advertising, your time, and that guy’s domain, are worth only what a Buyer is willing to pay for it. If there are no buyers, well, at the moment it may be worth nothing.
So how do you determine what someone else is willing to pay to ask you questions by phone or video call when the default answer on their end will always be “As little as possible”?
Base your hourly rate on the following:
- How much experience you have in a specific area
- How much business you’re currently doing
- Whether or not what you will be coaching people on will help make them money or save them money
The last one is extremely important. For example, another area I coach people in is digital marketing – how to make revenue with advertising sales, how to determine if they are being over-charged by ad agencies and vendors, how to generate leads and sales online, how to drive customers to web sites – all of these things either make money or save money, and if the information I teach them during our call saves them money or makes them money, they will pay a higher hourly rate for my time.
Get Business Cards
I use Moo.com
How to get clients
Potential clients are EVERYWHERE! The key is your own mindset. You’re NOT selling a service. You’re helping people. Engage complete strangers in short conversation in coffee shops. Look for opportunities online to help people.
Ask: “How can I help you?” And then give them a taste at no cost, with no expectations. Become the Go-To person for what you do. It’s not about you. It’s about THEM.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you give all of your time away for free. I’m simply suggesting that in the process of helping others, they will want to learn more about who you are, what you do and how you may be able to help them more.
Over the past 17 years this has happened to me hundreds of times. I’ve been paid to talk on the phone to teach MBA students studying marketing, major brand managers wanting a second opinion or resource referral, startup founders wanting me to vet their business model and much, much more.
Clients are everywhere. You just need to stop looking at them as Clients and deals to close, and start looking them as People to Help.
Never Coach by Email
Email is a time suck for coaching. I’ll do it under extreme circumstances, but the reason I prefer phone and Skype Video is because I can give the client more for their time; and it gives them time to quickly ask clarification and followup questions then and their.
Walk the Talk
I always tell clients that if I can’t help them with their problem, I won’t take their money and I’ll do my best to refer them to someone I feel is a better fit – who can help them more than I can. And I do.
And you know what? They remember that I did that – that I turned down their business when I could have taken their money and that I actually helped them by making an introduction to someone who could help them with their problem. And whether it’s months or years later, my phone will invariably ring and it will be that same person who remembered that I treated them well – this time coming back to me for an area that I can help them with:
- Domain buying/selling
- Teaching about internet marketing and advertising
- Second opinions
- Driving customers to web sites
- Increasing sales
- How to coach clients by phone or Skype video
- and much more
Start With the Problem
If your client doesn’t perceive they have a problem, why would they need your help solving something that doesn’t exist?
So make it about THEM, not YOU. Engage them in conversation and ask, “How can I help you?”.
On my coaching calls, I generally allow the first ten minutes for the client to give me background and present the problem. Then the rest of the hour is a really great conversation. It’s not just me giving a lecture, because I anticipate that they will have questions about what I’m saying. It’s a conversation.
Suggestions for Working with Regular Clients
I have some coaching clients that will engage me for an hour a week on Fridays. Others may simply need a single problem solved.
For the repeat ones, I suggest that they keep a manilla folder or Word Doc open during the week and jot down all the questions that come up during the week that, if they knew the answer to, would make them look like a hero at their job. Then we start our call by going right down that list, making the most of the session.
Everyone is an Expert at Something
No matter how young you are or how old you are, no matter what field you work in now, there are other people out there who need your help and who are willing to pay for your time and advice. This is particularly true of anyone over 50 who has Life Experience. For those who are retired, a small coaching client every now and then can really help to offset something like a prescription, part of your food or dining budget – anything.
Nothing is Easy
If it were easy, they wouldn’t call it “Work”, they’d call it Easy. And everyone would be doing it. Work requires time, learning, mistakes, commitment and effort. Some are willing to do it. Others are not.
Get an Executive Assistant
I cannot emphasize this more strongly. Most people are under the misconception that an Executive Assistant is either an employee that your company pays for who works full-time on site or who is a person in India who communicates only by email. There is a happy medium that can help you truly leverage your time to allow you to focus on what matters most and what will generate income. My phone number is below. Call me and I’ll explain and refer you to a good one who can help give you more free time.
What’s stopping you
My Great-Grandfather once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
That was 1932, but it is as applicable this year as it was almost a century ago. The Number One reason why people don’t pull the trigger on trying something or doing something is Fear.
There are three great ways to overcome Fear:
1. Face it head on and just do it. Put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Get outside of your comfort zone.
2. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I do this?” The worst thing that can happen if you don’t try to help other people and get paid for your time is that it doesn’t work and nobody calls you. Big Deal. Try something else; or, Pivot, learn from your mistakes and change your coaching.
3. Go Skydiving. It’s actually safer than driving a car, but once you’ve done it, you can do anything!