What do you spend your working day doing? I mean, what do you actually do from when you ‘clock in’ at the start of your working day, until you close the office door (or at least push your work to one end of the kitchen table)?

I was reading an article by the marvellous Brian Tracy the other day and it was really, really interesting. It was about new business owners, ones with a business of less than 2 years old, and what they do during the typical working day. These business owners weren’t all coaches, but what he said about them applies to coaches just as much as to other types of business owners.

Sales And Marketing To Find Clients

When questioned about sales and marketing activity, all business owners said that it was the most important thing that they do, that it’s the lifeblood of their business. When asked to quantify how much of their time they spend on sales and marketing, the majority said ‘most of my time’. This was then taken a step further and a good, old-fashioned time and motion study was done, on a very large scale, to see exactly how much time was actually spent on active sales and marketing – ie new business – by small business owners. The results were astonishing.

Give it your best guess – how much time do you think was really spent on sales and marketing? 90%? 75%? Maybe just 50%?

The answer was a jaw-dropping 11%. Just 11% of the small business owners’ time was spent on creating new business. The rest of the time was spent on:

  • website development
  • social media
  • marketing material
  • mastermind groups
  • brainstorming
  • coffee with fellow small business owners
  • travelling
  • creating products
  • enhancing services
  • developing customer feedback surveys

In fact their time was spent doing just about anything at all, other than actually finding clients. Small business owners, it would seem, are marvellous at giving the appearance of being in business. Be that as it may, if you have a coaching business and you are not generating income you are not ‘doing business’. What you are doing is staying busy. Worse, you are playing at being in business.

I could add in a couple of coach-specific things to that list of busy-ness:

  • creating coaching programmes
  • ‘considering’ niching
  • writing coaching materials
  • crafting ‘your story’ to build rapport (spoiler alert – it doesn’t!)

Let me be brutal

If you don’t have clients, you don’t have a business; you have a hobby. Even worse, many coaches discover that not only is their business a hobby, but it’s an expensive one at that. I’m sorry to be so black and white, but it’s the truth.

When I give presentations (used to do it face-to-face, now mostly online) on how to find clients who can and will pay, I always say ‘if you don’t have clients, you don’t have a coaching business’ and invariably, a few coaches will come up to me afterwards and say to me Sarah, you know what you said about not having clients….. well that’s me. What that means is that these coaches hadn’t realised the fact that without clients, they don’t actually have a business.

It’s hard truth time. Do you have a business or a hobby? If you have a hobby, would you like to turn it into a business? If so, I can help. A great place to start is to join Coaching Republic – our free community for coaches who are building businesses, full of resources and free masterclasses every 2 weeks.

You can have a financially viable coaching business – you just have to take action (and yes, I see the irony of telling coaches that they need to take action!) You simply have to understand the process of marketing and apply it.

Remember; the right marketing + time = a coaching business.