3 Reasons Coaches Struggle To Build Their Businesses (And What To Do About Them)

3 reasons coaching businesses struggle

In this article series, I’m going to talk about how I went from writing bad checks to pay for my gas to building a seven-figure coaching business.

My goal in doing this is to share the lessons I’ve learned along the way so you can apply them to your own coaching business and enjoy the same success that I have.

I want to dive into each key principle that transformed my business in later articles, but today I need to begin by broadly discussing why so many coaches are struggling to turn a profit in the first place.

Which brings me to…

The 3 biggest reasons coaches struggle to build their business (and what to do about them):

Reason 1: Most coaches are targeting the wrong clients

In 2006, my gym had been open for 3 years and I was working 70 hours a week—and I had very little money to show for it. About half the people I was training were the typical gen pop clients: people looking to lose weight and look better for the few months in Seattle where we get sun.

The problem is that these people had extremely busy lives, would cancel almost once a week and rarely stayed longer than a few months.

This is why it felt like I was killing myself, yet barely able to pay the bills and keep the gym open.
Then something happened that changed the course of my business and my career forever…

Solution: Find a niche and dominate it

I thought it would be a good idea to put together a one-day workshop for high school and club volleyball players on how to increase vertical jump and prevent lower body injuries.

As it turned out, it wasn’t just a good idea, it was the turning point in my entire career.

I was hoping for maybe 5 registrations on the first day (we had capped it at 20 because my gym isn’t very big), so you can imagine how shocked I was when I woke up and saw that we already had 60 girls registered! In just 2 days, I brought in over $10,000.

To see the exact strategy I used to do it, download the free case study below:

By targeting a specific group of people with a specific problem, I was able to make more money in 2 days than I did in most months. By building off of this workshop, I was able to build a highly profitable coaching business doing multiple six figures a year where 70% of the revenue came from a single sport.

I didn’t need the masses, I found a better market.

Reason 2: Most coaches are offering the wrong product

Aside from targeting the wrong people, most coaches struggle because they are also selling the wrong product to begin with.

What I mean is this: nobody buys training sessions because they love going to the gym to do sprints and squats. They buy them because they believe the squats and sprints are going make them stronger, leaner, in better shape, or whatever else.

In other words, people aren’t buying training, they’re buying results.

If all you’re doing is selling training sessions, or packages of training sessions, then you’re missing the point of what people really want.

Even worse, you’re also making it next to impossible for the average person to tell the difference between what you’re offering and what every other coach on the face of the earth is offering.

Everybody offers training sessions, what makes yours any different?

Solution: stop selling training and start creating programs

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the biggest reason my volleyball clinic was so successful was because I had done this:

coaching business struggles

I didn’t market it as a boring “training clinic” and I didn’t even really talk about what they were going to spend their time doing during the workshop. Instead, I called it “The Ultimate Volleyball Vertical Jump and Injury Prevention Workshop.”

Now think about it, if you were a volleyball player and your vertical jump sucked and you had been dealing with injuries, does that sound like something you’d want to go to?

When I used this approach, most of the time the athlete would ask me when she could start before I could even get to the pricing. It didn’t matter.

That’s the difference between selling training sessions vs. developing training programs that give people what they really want.

Reason 3: Most coaches are using the wrong business model

Here’s the cold, hard truth: if your coaching business relies on people actually showing up to train for you to make money and you’re primarily targeting general population clients to build your business, you’re fighting a massive uphill battle from the start.

Not only is turnover always going to be incredibly high with this group of people, but you’re competing against every other gym, coach and program in your area (and even on the internet) for their dollars.

A big market always equals a lot of competition and this leads to a very difficult path to success.

Solution: Sell your services, not your time

To break out of the struggle of trading dollars-for-hours, I realized I needed to do a much better job of leveraging my time. The success I had with the volleyball clinic was the first real eye-opener as to what was possible.

Over time, I settled on a model that relied on three different revenue streams, each one at a different price point, but all leveraging my time far more effectively than before:

  1. Open gym drop-in packages: Each week, athletes could choose when they wanted to come to our available open classes. We had 1-2 open classes per day and offered programs that included either 2 or 3 classes per week over 8-12 weeks.
  2. Small group training sessions: group sizes were set at 6 athletes per coach to provide more individual attention; and just like the open sessions, athletes paid a fixed amount for an 8-12 week and longer program.
  3. Club team training packages: club teams paid for training inside their own facilities. The price covered training for each athlete on the team for the entire season.

The key behind all three options is that I still generated revenue whether the athletes showed up or not. Athletes were paying for the training program, not for each training session, and this made a huge difference in how valuable my time became.

This is the true definition of working smarter rather than working harder.

To see the a real-world case study of the marketing strategy I used to build each of these programs, you can download it below:

3 ways to make your coaching business more successful

How to take your coaching business to the next level

If your coaching business isn’t a well-oiled machine that brings you true financial freedom, then I want to share something that can help.

I’ve put together a live online training that will systematically turn your hard work into real money: The 6-Figure Coaching Business Blueprint.

The online trainings will cover proven business strategies that will add an additional six figures to your coaching business. The four lessons will take place at 12:00 pm (PST) on:

  • Tuesday, July 24th: How to attract highly-motivated clients who value your expertise
  • Thursday, July 26th: How to develop training programs that clients really want
  • Tuesday, July 31st: How to build a complete (and affordable) marketing funnel
  • Thursday, August 2nd: How to scale your business to grow using long-term strategies that will snowball into massive success

Can’t make one of the live trainings? No problem. I’ll give you access to the full replay within 24 hours of each lesson. You’ll get to keep all of the recordings, additional resources, slides, and tools for life.

When you invest in your training business with these live trainings, you’ll also get:

  • Live Q&A sessions to get all your questions answered
  • Lifetime access to complete video recordings in case you miss a session or want to rewatch them
  • Downloadable templates, case-studies, and samples from my own business you can use right away
  • Assignments to help keep you accountable and make sure you’re on the right track
  • Review of all the tools, technology and software I’ve used to build my coaching business over the last 15 years
  • Exclusive customer support throughout the course and beyond as you implement the strategies I’ll teach you step-by-step

I can make this guarantee because if all you do is sign up just one extra client using what you’ll learn, the course will pay for itself. I know that you’ll make back far more than that because what I’m handing you is my own business blueprint—the playbook I’ve used to build a coaching business that generates seven figures a year.

If you’re ready to attract a steady stream of new, highly-motivated clients who are willing to pay you what you deserve, then click here to learn more about the course now.


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