10-Step Formula to Get Started as a Coach or Consultant
by Adam Urbanski
“My guess is first
I'll need some zippy flyers and a tri-fold brochure” said an email
from Matt last week. Sadly, he is not the only one thinking that the
first step to building a professional business is printing fliers and
brochures. After all, that’s what everyone does, right? And it seems
like a logical place to start, doesn’t it?
It’s interesting that
while most people who call me about my marketing mentoring services are
well established practitioners looking for a new edge, Matt’s message
was one of the 14 emails I got last week from people who are just
starting to build their practice.
They all wanted to know
the best way to get started fast but seemed to be fixated on getting
their fliers and brochures ready.
Fact is, "zippy flyers
and tri-folds" are a bad idea when you are just starting out. They
can be pricey if you want them to look sharp. But even worse - they are
If you are just starting
out, I'm more than sure, that you will quickly go through several
"adjustments”. I’ve seen people spent thousands on the "zippy brochures"
only to find them useless in a couple of months.
So if getting brochures
doesn’t work what’s the right way to go? Here is my sure-fire 10-step
formula to quickly get started as a coach or consultant. And, if you
are a well established practitioner, these ten tips may just give you
the swift kick in the pants you need to re-invigorate your marketing.
Yes, I know you’ve heard this before, but still too few people take the
time to do this.
Find out what makes you
tick. Evaluate your own strengths, desires, skills. What are you really
good at? What do you love learning about? If you’ve worked with clients
before - what type of clients did you have best results with so far?
If you don’t have at least your “who” (your ideal client), “what” (the
problems you solve) and “how” (your unique solution) figured out, don’t
even bother moving to step two.
2. Find a “hive”
This is a critical step that most people completely overlook. You’ve
got to find a market that WANTS what you’ve got (or what you want to
Ideally, people in this
market should already be aware of their problem, have a real desire to
solve it and the money to do so.
Evaluate if you can
easily find and reach those people. Do they have an association, annual
conference? Is there a list you can buy? If you can't find a hive -
look for a different target market or change your offering.
3. Listen and learn
Talk to people you want to work with. Learn their language; how they
communicate about their needs and problems. Ask them to tell you what
solutions they are looking for and their preferred method of learning
and solving problems.
4. Develop your
Magnetic Marketing Message
Learn to describe what you are offering in 15 seconds or less. Make sure
your message clearly communicates three things: who you help, their
problem, and your unique solution. This message is about the people you
work with not about you.
This is where you get
your business cards. I recommend you name your business in a way that
communicates what you do and get some basic business cards to start.
The ones from
are great. $10 or $15 will easily get you started, although I recommend
you spring the extra five bucks and opt not to have their branding on
the back of your cards.
If possible, make your
card an invitation to contact you. For example, my own cards advertise
marketing report and invite people to download it from my web site.
5. Create attraction
Write a few "Top 10" articles and a “special report” that address the
biggest problems your potential clients are experiencing.
Here is a hot tip for
you: if you don’t think you have enough expertise on the topic you want
to teach - start by interviewing a few experts.
6. Build a basic web
Don’t wait for months or years. All you need are a few simple pages that
communicate your magnetic marketing message, give you a place to post
your articles and invite your visitors to sign up for your electronic
newsletter or ezine.
Oh, I guess that would be
step six and a half – start your ezine! It’s so simple to do, there is
just no excuse not to have one. You can start with something like
ezezine.com - it's
free to send a monthly message if you have fewer than 1000 subscribers.
If you’ve got a large
list already, use something like
kickstartcart.com (the system I’m using.)
7. Start teaching!
Offer free teleclasses and build interest around what you are going to
coach or consult on. This is an important step; it allows people to get
to know you and "sample” your services while it gives you an opportunity
to test and tweak your content.
8. Help your first
Coach a few people in your target market for free or trade services with
them to get started. This will allow you to get your first success
stories fast. Make it a habit to collect testimonials from every
If you are having hard
time getting your first few clients here is your clue - focus more on
how to “create more value” for your clients and less on how to
9. Develop group
Selling open-end coaching or consulting engagements can be tough. It’s
often hard to get people to see what they will get out of working with
You can overcome this by
developing specific, close-end programs. They are easier to explain,
offer more “tangible” outcomes and are more affordable since there are
several participants paying for your time.
Those programs can become
your “great client incubator” – a place from which your
larger/individual assignments and projects will come.
10. Keep’em coming
Once you get your first few clients it’s easy to get overwhelmed and
stop marketing. But you’ve got to keep your marketing machine cranking
at all time.
Successful coaches and
consultants learn that continuous education-based marketing (marketing
by sharing their expertise) can get them more than enough business and
establish them as undisputable experts at the same time.
You too can get
similar results by writing and publishing articles, developing
info-products and getting invited as a speaker to groups that attract
your potential clients.
This is obviously only a
beginning guide. But I guarantee that if you follow those 10 simple
steps in just six months to a year you too can build a successful
(c) 2004 Adam M. Urbanski
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Urbanski, the Marketing Mentor, helps Independent Service
Professionals and Small Business Owners attract more clients. For more
promotional tips and a FREE 32-page marketing guide go to
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