How to Add an Online Course to Your Coaching Business9 minute read
Which comes first? The online course or the coaching?
Many creators argue that in order to grow a successful online coaching business, you need to start by selling online courses. Others would argue the opposite and that it is best to create an online course after growing your coaching business.
If you are an online coach, especially in 1-on-1 coaching, you might consider creating an online course and generating leveraged income to fuel your business.
That's a great idea, and can have many benefits. Keep reading below to learn all about why you should add a course to your coaching business, how you can do it successfully and when it is the best time to start selling courses online.
Why should you add a course to your online coaching business?
Thanks to their flexibility, online courses are a fantastic business model that can adapt well with many other businesses - especially online coaching.
The same as in online coaching, online courses help people achieve a specific result or transformation in their lives: the only difference is the way students get to this result.
With coaching, you assist clients one-on-one or in a group setting, and you direct all of your time and attention to them. With courses, students take in the online course content at their own pace, and work individually, with limited assistance from the creator.
This doesn't mean that the result students get is less powerful. Check out this article from our blog to learn about the differences between online coaching and courses: The Difference Between Online Coaching and Online Courses: Which is Better?
Let's see why you should consider incorporating an online course into your coaching business:
An online course generates a leveraged income stream
You might have heard about the term "passive income": the idea that a product generates recurring revenue without you having to put in any work.
We don't believe in passive income. As with any business, there is no shortcut to success - you always have to put in the work!
However, passive income is not completely made up: you can still put in a lot of work to build a product that will yield greater results in the future. We like to call this leveraged income.
Products like digital courses, digital downloads or membership sites are examples of leveraged income businesses.
When you create an online course, you work hard for the first few months (you have to come up with an idea, record all of your lesson content, create educational resources, launch it and so on...). However, once you launch your online course, it is on autopilot.
All you need to do now is keep promoting the course. You don't have to recreate the content every time a new student joins the course.
The opposite example is 1-on-1 coaching or live classes. In these business models, you are trading your time for money (you get paid per coaching session or class), and you have to show up every time.
While online coaching can offer a high income potential due to the price of these services, it is not easy to scale, and there is little potential to generate leveraged income. Here is where online courses come in.
Adding an online course to your online coaching business creates a new opportunity to generate leveraged income and impact more people with your knowledge and skills.
An online course helps you collect new leads for your coaching business
Another reason why coaches should consider adding an online course to their business is to collect new leads and attract new potential clients.
It can be hard to gain new online coaching clients when the main service you are offering is a high-ticket coaching program: many people are reluctant to invest a large amount of money into coaching, which is why it takes time and consistent marketing to attract new online coaching clients. Check out this article from our blog to learn more about gaining your first coaching client: 6 Actionable Tips to Attract Your First Coaching Clients
A way to speed up the process is to start selling online courses.
Compared to an online coaching session, an online course is generally more affordable and an easier purchase decision for the buyers.
Have you ever heard about the value ladder?
A value ladder is simply a visual representation of the products or services you offer in your business, laid out from the least expensive and valuable to the most expensive and valuable.
The value ladder can be a good way to understand the customers' journey. How do your clients find you? What decisions do they make before purchasing your main offer?
If you have a coaching business, chances are that you offer many different services to your clients. Maybe you run group online coaching sessions, one-on-one calls, masterminds, consultations and so on...
Try organizing all of your services in the value ladder to gain clarity on your business and customer journey. Read this article to learn more: The Value Ladder - How to Improve Online Course Sales by Segmenting Your Audience and Product Offering
Ok, so what does the value ladder have to do with adding an online course to your business?
An online course can be the missing step you need to connect your premium services with your ideal clients.
The image above shows an example of a value ladder for an online coaching business. As you can see, the course here is treated as the initial offer, after the free offer - leading up to the main services (group coaching and one-on-one coaching).
In the example above, a new potential client might find your business by downloading the free eBook, maybe from an ad or visiting your site. Once they download the lead magnet, you can email them and introduce them to your course.
If they purchase your course and want to learn more from you, they can access your coaching programs. Without the online course, it would have been hard to ask people to pay thousands of dollars to enroll in a coaching program after they only downloaded a free PDF.
This is just an example, and it can be different from business to business. However, whether you offer a couple of services or 100 different ones, it can be useful to lay them out in a value ladder to spot new opportunities for improving the customers' journey.
An online course helps you understand your target audience
A course is a great way to better understand your target audience and collect helpful feedback from them.
This is because, with a course, you can reach a broader audience and enroll a higher number of students compared to the clients you get for your coaching business.
If you can coach a handful of clients each month, you can technically enroll thousands of students in your course (depending on the level of service you plan to provide).
This gives you a large pool of data from potential clients that you can utilize to improve your coaching services and the digital course itself.
For example, if a new student enrolls in your online classes, once they complete it, they might have many questions or feedback for you (even things you haven't thought about before). You can use this feedback to improve your coaching programs, offer more detailed resources and better understand your ideal customers.
A course improves the onboarding process for your coaching clients
Last but not least, many online coaches use self-paced courses to onboard new clients.
Like corporations training new employees with a course, you can offer courses to automate the onboarding process and fill in the knowledge gaps between you and your clients.
There might be certain repetitive topics your clients need to understand before being ready to start their coaching sessions, this is what you could cover in your course.
For example, let's say that you are coaching people on how to invest in the stock market. Your ideal coaching client is someone who already understands the stock market very well but needs your assistance with investment advice. If someone is a complete beginner as an investor and doesn't know much about this business, you could create a course where you cover the basics of how the stock market works.
This way, upon completion of the course, students will be ready to hire you as a coach, and you won't need to spend time training them on the basics.
A similar idea can be to integrate your coaching sessions with a course, so your clients can study at their own pace while also having regular sessions with you.
Tips on how to integrate an online course into your coaching business
Now that we have learned all the benefits of offering an online course in addition to your coaching services let's see a few tips on how you can get started with online courses the right way.
#1: Create a course that answers your clients' most common questions
One of the most common struggles that online course creators face is coming up with a winning online course idea.
If you are an online coach, you should not have this problem. You already know the most common questions of your clients, what pain points they experience and what topics come up the most in your conversations.
A great way to guarantee your online course's success is to base its content around these topics.
So think about what are the most common questions you get asked over and over by your clients. Is there one topic you always have to explain to your clients?
The ideal topic is something that most of your clients have in common and has an explanation that is valid for most people (doesn't require too much individual assistance).
#2: Collect feedback from your clients
How should you structure your course? Your online coaching business provides the answer to this question.
Many new course creators like to validate their program's idea by pre-selling an online course.
Pre-selling means beta-testing a course launch by selling access before it actually launches. An idea for coaches can be to pre-sell a course to your existing audience of clients (and potential clients).
This is a powerful way to collect initial feedback and validate your course idea.
Another idea is to grant access to a small pool of students to gather their feedback. You could offer a favorable price in exchange for their opinion on what you can improve before you launch your course to the world.
#3: Choose a topic that fits well with the course model
Adding a course to your coaching business is a great way to differentiate your product offerings.
However, you need to be careful with what kind of information you decide to share on your course, versus the topics you cover in your personal coaching sessions.
Coaching and courses can definitely coexist, but you should make sure that the topic of your course fits well with its business model. Certain topics work best with one-on-one coaching, and others work best with courses.
For example, let's say that you are a nutritional coach. A good example could be to create an online course that teaches people how to cook healthy recipes at home - while your coaching sessions could focus on building a meal plan specifically for each client, according to their personal preferences and body characteristics.
A bad example could be the opposite: trying to personalize a course. With the healthy recipes course, you are setting yourself up for success: all of your students will be able to get the result of the course by consuming its content and following the instructions. While if you want to add more personalization, it is better to reserve it for the coaching sessions.
#4: Set up a community for your online course students
In the last paragraph, we talked about how your course should cater to a universal audience. That said, it doesn't mean that you cannot add a personal touch and create a connection with your students!
Our advice is to create mainstream content for your course and offer the option for your students to connect with you through different means. This can be done by setting up a community for your online course students.
A community is a place alongside your course where learners can discuss with you and with other students, share ideas, ask questions, and build a personal connection with your brand.
With Heights Platform, you can easily set up a community right inside your ecosystem and offer a space for students to connect.
Another benefit of setting up a community is that you are training your clients to relate with you, and you are offering them a taste of your coaching style. Your ultimate goal is to get more coaching clients, so this can be a great way to show potential clients the value of your services.
#5: Experiment with different pricing strategies
Generally, online courses are sold at a different price compared to coaching programs or sessions.
The price of your course depends on many different factors. If you are an online coach who wants to integrate a course into your business, our advice is to not be scared of testing out new pricing strategies for your course versus your coaching services.
- Ultimate Guide to Pricing Your Online Course (With Earnings Calculator)
- How to Price Your Online Coaching Programs
When can you add a course to your online coaching business?
There is no rule that dictates when it is appropriate to integrate an online course into your business.
You are free to choose whether to start with a course and then add more coaching programs, create an online course after years of being a coach, or even start with both products simultaneously.
Our advice is to collect feedback from your audience before and after you launch your course. If you already have a decent size audience or some coaching clients, you can gather helpful information from them.
However, if you are just starting out, you can still collect valuable feedback and grow an audience by doing market research and validating your course idea.
Is there a platform where I can sell online courses and coaching services in the same place?
Yes, there is, and you can do much more than that!
Heights Platform is the all-in-one course creation platform that allows you to build an entire knowledge business from one place.
You can sell courses, membership sites, online challenges and digital downloads. You can also sell other services, such an online coaching program!
Heights lets you build a whole community inside your program and gives you the flexibility to structure it however you desire. You can bundle products together and offer exclusive deals to a selected group of clients.
You can also create your sales pages and your whole website inside Heights! Start your free Heights Platform account today and see it for yourself!Create Your Online Course Today