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How to get clients as a life coach in 2023

Last Updated:
January 29, 2023
by
Hunter Varnum

If you want to learn how to get clients as a life coach in 2023, then you’ve come to the right place. A lot has changed in recent years, and trying to figure out how to find clients as a life coach today can lead you down many distracting paths that only waste your time & money.

So, I’m going to clear up the confusion for you & tell you where you should place your focus so you can get coaching clients fast and start building a successful life coaching business in a way that feeds your soul.

Inside our meditation facilitator training, I have the privilege of working with life coaches on a regular basis, helping them to cut out the noise & build their businesses. I also personally run the ads & create the content for our business. Additionally, I witnessed my mom, Heather Hayward, build a multi-six figure coaching business with a 1-year waiting list to get on her schedule, without ever running a single ad or posting on social media. So, I know what works & what doesn’t work when it comes to getting coaching clients, and I also truly care about your success.

That said, we have a lot to cover, so take a swig of coffee and let’s get started. Here’s what we’ll be discussing:

Alrighty then, let’s do this…

How to Get Your First Life Coaching Clients

If you want to get your first coaching clients fast, the easiest & most overlooked approach is the old fashioned way: spreading the word. It’s amazing how many people are struggling to find life coaching clients – getting sidetracked with funnel, course building & social media – but they haven’t told a single soul what it is they are doing yet!

And word of mouth is not just a way to get your first life coaching client. If you are able to get extraordinary results for your clients that get them to refer you to their friends, family & co-workers, word-of-mouth may be the only marketing strategy you ever need to employ to achieve the success you desire.

So, before you go down the rabbit hole of ads, funnels & content creation, please try one of the following:

#1 Tell Your Personal Network What You’re Doing

It’s very common for new coaches to be too shy to tell their friends, family or colleagues about what they’re doing. But this is a huge mistake! Your existing network is perhaps the best way to get your first coaching clients fast.

It’s very likely that you know people in the exact niche that you desire to help. If you don’t know people in the niche, your friends, family or colleagues definitely will. Tell them what you’re doing & why you’re doing it, I guarantee you people in your network will jump at the opportunity to work with you or refer someone to you.

#2 Collaborate with Other Professionals

While your personal network is a fantastic place to get your first coaching client, utilizing your professional network is an incredible way to source clients long-term. Your massage therapist, your acupuncturist, your hairstylist/barber or anyone who sees a lot of clients themselves on a regular basis is a potential source of multiple referrals. Tell them what you’re doing, what niche you’re working with, and ask them to refer potential clients to you.

You can also collaborate with another professional with an agreement to refer clients to one another or even set up a collaborative care model where you both work with the same client.

Additionally, you could create a workshop or event with another professional or in collaboration with another business to gain access to a new group of potential clients. If you know how to lead a guided meditation, perhaps you could offer to lead guided meditation classes at the local yoga studio or community center.

The important thing to understand is that there are many other Entrepreneurial Empaths just like you who would jump at the opportunity to help you build your coaching business, especially if the arrangement is mutually beneficial.

#3 Go to Niche-Specific Events or Support Groups

If you don’t have any direct connections to people in your niche and have a limited personal/professional network, then you can go to events or training seminars for traders and create your own connections.

If networking events don’t apply to your niche, what about support groups or local communities? Think about the groups & events that your ideal client would attend, and attend those events, meet people, and tell them what you do! This strategy is a quick and very effective way to get coaching clients fast, however, it makes the most sense when you are a part of the niche you desire to serve. Otherwise, it may be inappropriate for you to attend certain meetings or support groups.

So, before you jump into creating funnels, digital marketing or social media, realize that in all likelihood, you are just a few conversations away from a new client. This is not only the fastest & easiest way to get your first coaching clients, but if you can get incredible results for your clients, it may also be all you ever need to do to build a thriving business.

Life coaches tend to be on the shy side. They like to support & help people behind the scenes, and not to put themselves at the center of attention. But, you owe it to your future clients & yourself to be bold, get out there, strike up conversations, network, tell everyone what you’re doing & start building your business, today!

How to Get Coaching Clients Online – With Ads

Before you dive into the subject of how to get coaching clients online using ads, I implore you to implement the strategies discussed in the previous section. While building a funnel & running ads is a highly effective way to get coaching clients, there is a lot to learn to do it successfully.  And once you head down the marketing rabbit hole, it’s easy to get sucked into spending thousands of dollars on business coaches & courses selling regurgitated information that will only waste your time & money.

But, if you have the requisite tenacity, learning how to market your coaching business could give you the ability to get clients on demand & afford you the opportunity to scale beyond the limitations of 1-on-1 coaching in the future.

While I couldn’t possibly cover all there is to know in this article, I will cover the basic strategy & point you in the direction of some resources that will help you learn how to get coaching clients online.

What Is the Best Strategy to Market Your Coaching Business?

When trying to figure out how to market your coaching business, it’s natural at first to get distracted by marketing gimmicks. Marketing gurus & funnel building softwares will pitch you on the benefits of front-end courses, upsells, tripwire offers & a million other things that will do nothing but waste your time & drain your energy. The fact is, you do NOT need a complicated funnel, mini-courses or a complex email marketing strategy to market your life coaching business. 

Fortunately, the best marketing strategy to drive business into your private practice, group coaching or high-ticket courses, is also the simplest. So, let’s break down the essentials of the most effective marketing & funnel strategy for life coaches, the call application funnel.

What is a call application funnel & why should you use it?

The call application funnel is a simple funnel designed to get your ideal clients on a sales call with you. It consists of a landing/opt-in page, a video sales letter (VSL), a schedule/application page & a thank you page. It’s easy to build, and because of its simple, linear structure, it’s easy to analyze the data to determine how well your funnel is working.

The call application funnel is also the most effective strategy to sell high-ticket services. And if you are running ads as a life coach, you should be selling high-ticket services – otherwise, you will find it very difficult to acquire clients profitably.

Here is a diagram of a high-ticket call funnel with the ballpark metrics targets (Key Performance Indicators or KPIs) you should be shooting for:

Diagram of high-ticket coach funnel with key performance indicators for a call funnel

What do you need to build a high-ticket coaching funnel?

All you need is funnel-building software, scheduling software, and email marketing software to execute this marketing strategy. The funnel & website builder I use & recommend is Webflow - with just this one tool, you can build an incredible website AND funnel for a fraction of the cost of ClickFunnels or Instapage. The scheduling software we use is Calendly, which takes care of both the scheduling & the intake form or application in one. And the email software or CRM we use is ActiveCampaign.

Best Platform to Advertise as a Life Coach – Facebook Ads or Google?

The best platform to advertise as a life coach is Google Ads, specifically YouTube & Search Ads. Post iOS14, Facebook ads simply no longer work for cold traffic, so don’t even bother trying. The only use Facebook has as an advertising platform is for retargeting visitors of your website or funnel. If you try to run ads to cold traffic on Facebook, you’re going to find it VERY expensive to acquire leads, and the quality of the leads you do acquire will likely be poor.

Google Ads, however, are a different story. With YouTube Ads, you can place your ads directly on videos you know your niche would be watching. And with Search Ads, you can show up in the search results when your potential clients search for answers to problems you can help them solve. On both the YouTube & Google Search platforms, people are in a completely different state than on Facebook or Instagram, because they are seeking to learn. Therefore, the quality of traffic you’ll get from YouTube or Search Ads will be much better than Facebook.

There is no way I could cover the vast amount of information needed to properly run YouTube Ads in this article, but, here is a list of tips, trainings & resources that can get you moving in the right direction:

How to Setup Your Google Ads Tracking

In order to run ads, you need to have your tracking setup properly on your website. This is so you can create events to optimize your ads around. For a call funnel, you’ll specifically be optimizing around two conversion events: opt-ins & booked calls. If you haven’t done this before, it can sound really confusing, but luckily, there is Julian from Measureschool. Julian’s YouTube Channel is all about setting up proper tracking for Google Analytics & Google Ads and he breaks everything down into simple, easy-to-follow steps. I learned everything I know about tracking from him. I love his content, and I hope it’s as helpful to you as it was to me!

You Don’t Need to Be On Camera to Create YouTube Ads

Many people don’t realize that some of the most successful YouTube ads are basically slideshow presentations or animated videos with no one on camera. So, if you’re camera-shy, that doesn’t mean you can’t create effective YouTube Ads. If you can create a slideshow presentation & screen record it with something like Screenflow or Camtasia, then you can create a YouTube ad!

Free Training on Running YouTube Ads

Kyle Sulerud is an incredible resource for learning how to navigate the Google Ads platform. With a specific focus on YouTube ads, Kyle’s YouTube Channel is packed with valuable information on how to use the different targeting options, how to structure your campaigns, what key performance indicators to pay attention to, and much more. Additionally, he has several insightful videos on how to structure your ads & come up with effective hooks.

Paid Training for Running YouTube Ads

If you want to save yourself time & just purchase an all-in-one YouTube Ads training, Foundr has a great YouTube ads training created by Tommie Powers – who is the marketing guru’s guru when it comes to YouTube Ads. If you’re starting from square one, this training will teach you everything you need to know about landing page design, the Google Ads platform, YouTube Ad structure, and much more.

Software to Find Search Ad Opportunities

Search Ads can be highly effective & profitable when focused on the right keyword opportunities. Google Ads Keyword Planner is a great free resource that can help you find queries your niche is searching for, which can also be used as keywords to target with your YouTube Ads. Another incredible software for finding keywords, search queries, and much more is SEMRush. I personally use SEMRush all the time to research blog topics, but it’s also a powerful tool to find keywords to target for search campaigns, and even to spy on competitors’ search campaigns to get an idea of copy that might work for your business.

How to Attract Life Coaching Clients with Organic Content

When it comes to getting clients online, the best investment you can make to attract life coaching clients over the long-term is to have an intelligent organic content strategy. While the law of attraction certainly has its place in the client acquisition process, I believe more in the law of action. And creating content that organically drives targeted traffic – at an increasing rate overtime – is one of the highest impact actions you can take for the long-term stability of your coaching business.

Defining Content That’s Actually Worth Creating

In business, you want to focus on high-leverage activities that produce outsized outputs or benefits compared to the inputs of time & resources. The same goes for content creation. Creating content takes time, and time is your life’s most scarce & valuable resource. So, in order for content to be worth creating, it must be worth the time it takes to produce.

To determine whether or not a certain content strategy is worth it, I like to evaluate three things:

  • Content Half-Life: Content half-life refers to how long a piece of content will survive on a given platform. Instagram & Facebook have a content half-life of about 1-day. This is why it’s essentially useless to create content for these platforms as all of your hard work evaporates each day. On the flip side, YouTube or writing a blog article have an inverted half-life, because they are search engines. Though it may take a long time to build momentum, well done YouTube videos & blog articles have the potential to generate traffic at an increasing rate for many years into the future.
  • Competition: Competition is an important factor to consider, especially when you’re just getting started. This is why having a niche is incredibly important. That way, you can create content that solves specific problems for your niche or answers specific questions that your website or YouTube Channel will have a much higher probability of ranking for.
  • Interest: You want to make sure that there is interest and/or search volume in the subjects you cover in your content. Equally important to the level of interest is who is interested in the content. You don’t want to create content for everyone. You want to create content that attracts your ideal coaching clients to your website or channel.

Coming Up with Content Ideas That Attract Clients

For any piece of content to attract life coaching clients, it has to be relevant, valuable & visible to your niche. To come up with attractive content ideas, I highly recommend the tool I mentioned previously, SEMRush – specifically, the Keyword Magic Tool.

Using this tool, you can research questions your niche is asking Google – and by extension YouTube. You can also determine the level of competition & interest via the two metrics Keyword Density & Search Volume, respectively.

If SEMRush is too expensive for you, you can research its competitors or simply use the Keyword Planner – a free tool available to you inside your Google Ads account.

Whatever tool you use, dive deep & research your niche’s problems/questions from as many angles as possible. This is sure to give you many ideas to create relevant & valuable content for your niche with higher probabilities of visibility on Google Search or YouTube.

Benefits of Creating a YouTube Channel and/or a Blog

Building a YouTube Channel, writing a blog on your website, or both, is a high-leverage activity with long-term benefits that outweigh the short-term costs. Both YouTube & blog content have inverted half-lives, and will continue to gain momentum & traffic over time.

Additionally, creating successful YouTube or blog content is all about quality over quantity. That means you do not need to be stuck on the content hamster wheel, as is the case with Facebook or Instagram. One high-quality blog and/or video a week (or even per month) is all you need to build momentum over time.

Plus, unlike Facebook or Instagram, YouTube's audience is growing rapidly. And almost every active internet user uses YouTube on a monthly basis, and the vast majority of internet users use YouTube on a daily to weekly basis.

Just think, one high-value YouTube video could consistently generate new life coaching clients at an increasing rate for years into the future. Now, compare that to the time & effort posting on Instagram. What is more worth your while?

Create YouTube Shorts to Grow Your Channel

It's no secret that YouTube is putting a big emphasis on YouTube Shorts for creators starting in 2023 & beyond. And unlike Instagram Reels & Tik-Toks that basically become invisible after 48-72 hours, YouTube Shorts have a MUCH longer content half-life AND you can actually get paid a reasonable amount for your creativity once your channel grows & gets monetized.

Therefore, creating short-form content for your target audience on YouTube is a good investment of your time, especially if you want to get a new YouTube Channel off the ground. YouTube is going to be prioritizing channels who create shorts, their much easier to create than a standard 5-10 min YouTube Video, and as long as you add a clear call to action at the end (i.e. pushing them to a YouTube Video you created, getting the to subscribe or having them check out your website or book a call), shorts are a great avenue to drive conversions for your business.

If you're looking for a great guide as to how to create YouTube Shorts - or ANY content for that matter - then, I would highly recommend you check out Alex Hormozi & his wife/business partner Leila Hormozi. They are amazing.

Increase Reach & Fast-Track Growth with Tik-Tok

Trust me, I already threw up in my mouth for you. However, I would be cheating you out of a simple hack to drive traffic to your coaching business, your blog or your YouTube channel if I didn’t mention this.

Tik-Tok is an incredible tool to quickly build an audience & drive traffic to an external social media platform or to your funnel. This is because of the potential for virality.

Plus, if you're already creating YouTube Shorts, you might as well just post the exact same content on Tik-Tok for the heck of it.

Granted, your niche will need to be active on the platform, but you would be surprised at the ever-widening age range of people on Tik-Tok.

Creating simple short videos that answer questions, share tips or quotes & any information that your niche would find valuable enough to like, comment or share with someone they know is all you need to do to eventually create something that goes semi-viral.

I know several YouTubers who have grown channels from 0 to +1 million subscribers in less than two years utilizing Tik-Tok, so it’s absolutely a high-leverage activity to get a lot of output with minimal input.

How to Find Coaching Clients on LinkedIn

If your niche participants are active users of LinkedIn, reaching out to them directly on LinkedIn can be a very effective strategy to get coaching clients. However, it’s not for everyone. So, let’s break down what you need to know to determine if learning how to find coaching clients on LinkedIn is a valuable use of your time. 

What You Need to Know:

Direct outreach is analogous to cold calling, and honestly, many coaches are simply not cut out for it. I know several highly successful coaches (mostly business coaches) who rely solely on LinkedIn direct outreach to acquire new clients, so it can definitely work. But make no mistake, it’s hard work.

Also, it requires two things of your niche: #1 they need to be easily searchable via professional demographics & #2 they truly need to have a painful problem that is ubiquitous in the niche.

Additionally, you have to love sales to make this strategy work for you, because you will be essentially reaching out, starting sales conversations, getting people on a sales call & closing them – over and over again. There is a lot of rejection involved, it’s just the nature of this sort of lead generation because people know you’re trying to pitch them on something. That’s why it’s critical that your niche has a truly painful problem for this to work.

Lastly, getting coaching clients from LinkedIn takes a long time. Over the long-run, it can work tremendously well, but it may take several months for you to get one client, especially if you are not a confident sales person.

4 Step Process to Find & Close Coaching Clients on LinkedIn

The strategy for getting coaching clients from LinkedIn can be broken down into 4 steps: connect, converse, chat & close. Let’s discuss the basics of each step.

Step 1: Adding Connections

The first step is finding your niche participants on LinkedIn and adding them as connections. I highly recommend that you have Sales Navigator to do this, which will provide you with higher daily connection limits, better search functionality, and the ability to make lists of potential clients based on their demographic data.

You will get higher connection rates if you personalize each connection message, but I urge you not to do this. You want to use the same messages over & over to be able to measure the effectiveness of your approach & test it against other connection messages. You must have as few variables as possible so you can iterate & improve your approach over time.

Block out time each day to send out your quota of connection requests, and stay consistent.

Step 2: Engage in Conversation

Every day, you’ll want to have one or two times blocked out in your schedule to check LinkedIn/Sales Navigator to see who has accepted your request to connect. To each person who has accepted your connection request, send the same one or two messages to engage them in conversation. The purpose of this initial message is to thank them for connecting with you, and get them to respond to you in the chat. It’s vital that you have a standardized approach to this, or you won’t know what is working & what isn’t working.

Text conversations are extremely time consuming. So, once they’ve responded to you, your goal should be to keep the texting to a minimum and advance the prospect to step 3 as quickly as possible.

Step 3: Advance to a Quick Chat

The next step is to take the conversation off of LinkedIn & onto a quick 15-minute chat with your prospective client. This is NOT a sales call, it’s what’s known as a qualifying conversation. The purpose of it is to simply determine if the prospect is or is not a viable potential client. This is done by discussing what their main challenges are, what their desired situation is, how much their desire and/or are willing to invest in finding a solution, presenting your high level pitch (I help [niche] to [overcome challenge] so they can [get desired result]), and things of that nature. 

At the end of the chat, if they meet your qualifying criteria, the next step is to book them for a 45 min sales call.

Step 4: Close on a Sales Call

The last step is to convert the prospect into a client on a sales call. There have been many books written about sales, so I won’t even attempt to summarize any tips or tricks in this article. However, I would point you to a book called Fanatical Prospecting, which was very helpful in teaching me the process of direct outreach.

So, that’s the basic process. It’s quite time consuming, and for it to work, you’ll need to be tenacious & consistent. However, there are some tools & trainings that can help save you time & increase the volume of potential clients you are able to reach.

One such tool is called Apollo.io is a great software that can enable you to build automation sequences & follow-ups with people you’ve connected with. Additionally, the tool is able to collect email addresses from LinkedIn, so you can bring the conversation with potential clients off of LinkedIn, which will result in much higher response rates, more conversations & more clients.

Or if you know that LinkedIn direct outreach is the strategy for you, it’s the best way for you to connect with your niche, and you are someone who loves the sales process, check out Executive Advantage. Their training is incredibly thorough & absolutely the best training in regards to getting coaching clients on LinkedIn. They also have a proprietary bot that you can set to automatically connect with people & initiate the conversation with automated sequences in both LinkedIn & email.

Using LinkedIn Organic – The Right Way

Building connections with as many people in your niche as possible not only creates the opportunity to engage them in conversation but also to reach them organically via LinkedIn posts. LinkedIn’s algorithm is great for organic reach, and if your niche participants are active on the platform, there is a good chance they will see some or all of your posts.

Before you go on a posting spree, it’s important to understand what the objective is. The objective is to convey to your niche that you are an authority they can trust to provide a solution to a painful problem they have. So, only post when what you are sharing is relevant to the objective, adds value to your niche participants, and/or demonstrates that you are a person who cares about & understands them, perhaps better than they do.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is fully focused on your life coaching business and clearly states what you do and the niche/problem you have a solution for. Many of the people who connected with you likely won’t remember why they did, so when they click on your profile after seeing one of your posts, you want to make sure the path to becoming a future client of yours is clear as day.

2 Things You Must Do To Get & Retain Coaching Clients

If you want to build a successful coaching business, you have to be able to get clients consistently. That’s a given. But, more importantly, you have to be able to retain those clients. Otherwise, you’ll be in the exhausting business of client acquisition and not in the business of client success. So, in order to get & retain clients, there are two things you must do:

Learn How to Close Sales Comfortably & Confidently

Being uncomfortable with sales, and not knowing how to sell is a massive limiting factor in most life coaches’ ability to get clients. We see this all the time inside The Guided Meditation Framework with the coaches we work with – and there is a stark contrast between those who are confident in what they are selling and those who are not.

The students we work with that have no problem selling their services are typically those who believe in & understand the value they can bring to their clients’ lives. These students have no problem charging $1,500 to +$3,000 for 6 to 12 meditation coaching sessions, and they do so regularly with ease.

For students who are less confident, we have a regular workshop we run called “Sales Uncringed” that helps Entrepreneurial Empaths rewrite the negative association they have with sales, and reframe the sales process so they can sell their services with complete comfortability and confidence.

The reason I’m telling you this is because if you have a negative association with the word “sales”, it’s going to be a massive limiting factor in your ability to get coaching clients. It’s vital that you read books on how to sell, and assess what subconscious programming you might have around charging money that might hold you back.

Get Extraordinary Results That Retain Clients & Generate Referrals

It doesn’t matter how many clients you get if you can’t get extraordinary results. Because if you don’t get consistent results, you won’t retain clients. And if you can’t retain clients, you’ll be stuck in the business of client replacement, always trying to figure out where your next client will come from.

To be completely honest, most coach trainings don’t equip you with the necessary skills to get the transformational results necessary to retain clients & generate referrals. When my mom first started her coaching business, she was exclusively using the typical tools like motivational interviewing, the wheel of life, etc. But, it wasn’t working. She would get clients, but half of them would quit halfway through the process, and she wasn’t generating referrals.

She knew she needed to reach her clients on a deeper level, so she combined her decades of experience leading guided meditations with additional trainings in clinical hypnotherapy, NLP, HeartMath, guided imagery & therapeutic imagery to create a unique modality that enabled her consistently facilitate lasting transformations for her clients.

This method was the foundation of her success, and combined with her coaching, enabled her to build a thriving business with more clients than she could handle. If you’d like to learn how to lead guided meditations in your work, that’s what we do here at The Guided Meditation Framework. We teach coaches how to integrate my mom’s unique outcome-oriented guided meditation methodology into their work so they can predictably facilitate the kind of extraordinary outcomes that get clients talking & referring you to their friends & family.

If you want to learn a proven method that will give you 100% confidence in your ability to deliver transformational experiences to your clients each session & enable you to raise your prices to the high-ticket level, then I highly recommend you check out our meditation teacher training.

That brings this huge article to an end. Thank you so much for reading/scrolling all the way down here. I hope you found this article valuable, and wish that you find life coaching clients with ease so you can build a thriving business that feeds your soul.

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