How I make money coaching

Coaching is one of the fastest growing areas of career opportunity today – and yet I see competent coaches making income comparable to that of a hamburger flipper.  We are told that 95% of coaches never make more than $40,000/yr.  So let’s assume that’s a reasonable average – BUT you’re smart enough to recognize some other ways to share your core message.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the ways I was making money right from the start – with no books, courses or unique content of my own – and coming from a place of ministry and service.  I wasn’t looking at turning the content I was sharing in my Sunday School class into a business but the doors just kept opening quickly.

Saturday workshops    The Sunday School class (CareerLife Planning) I was teaching grew by leaps and bounds.  So I added a quarterly Saturday morning workshop where I covered the same basic material.  I charged $69 and would always fill the room to maximum capacity (100-120).

DISC Debriefing    When I had my first business I started using the DISC profiles to help with hiring properly.  I saw the value of that information and started providing the DISC profiles for people where I would do a one hour debriefing to understand the career applications – for $145.  We now offer DISC certification to help others do the same.    

1-1 Coaching  – Those profiles led to requests for more individual coaching – and I created packages at $145, $745 and $2500. The workshops, seminars and Sunday School class quickly filled my schedule to capacity.  Over the years since I've gone from 5 days a week of personal coaching to about 1 day a month because of the income generated from other areas.  

Seminar presentations    When I was 32 years old I was volunteering as a Dale Carnegie teaching assistant.  I had been dramatically helped by the basic Human Relations course and wanted to help others experience the same benefits.  But the program had become quite expensive and I wondered if there were other similar options at a lower price.  With a little research I discover a 10-module program called Adventures in Attitudes.  I became a “facilitator,” purchased their workbooks, and scheduled my first workshop.  The local Chamber of Commerce promoted the workshop to their mailing list and allowed me to use their beautiful facility for the 10 weeks at no cost.  I paid $69 each for the participant workbooks, charged $469 for the program and had 23 people sign up.  I had no list, no platform, and no audience of my own.  As you can see, that first workshop netted me $9200 and I repeated that process many times before I ever created any materials of my own.  We now have the new 48 Days to the Work You Love Seminar available for you to replicate exactly what I did.  

Affiliate commissions    I wanted to attend conferences to help me learn and grow.  Many of those conferences offered an affiliate fee.  One of the first I attended was Mark Victor Hansen’s MegaBook University.  The price was $995 and I got a 30% affiliate fee.  I promoted it to my little group of friends, told them I’d buy them dinner, and had 12 people join me there.  I paid full price for myself, half price for my son and had flights and hotel expenses = $2500 and bought dinner for those 12 folks for another $300.  So I invested $2800.  But a week after I got home I got my affiliate check (33% of    the 12 attendees = $3582)  Deduct my total expenses and I got to attend the conference for free and netted a $782 profit.  I’ve done that more times than I can possibly remember with conferences, courses and programs.  We now conduct our Coaching with Excellence conferences and have affiliates who do the same as I did.  

Writing    I began to write articles for Lifeway Sunday School materials.  I would have one article on finding your passion and applying that in meaningful work, for each of their quarterly lesson guides that went out to over 400,000 faithful Sunday School participants.  And they paid me $425 for each of those articles.

Speaking    From the very beginning I got speaking requests.  Typically those were from churches and I didn’t have a set fee.  But they would always give me a love offering of some kind – typically ranging from $400-1500. 

Using these beginning figures you can see how they add up to put you in a very small percentage of coaches.  And this is just the beginning.  As you create content of your own, and build your own audience, these figures can grow exponentially.

I began with the few things identified here but in the time since have added my own 48 Days content through traditional books, ebooks. online courses, membership sites, and a Mastermind.  Knowing I had a core message to share (Release dreams into purposeful, and profitable work…in 48 days) has allowed me to add multiple ways for people to experience that message.  And I'm confident you can do the same.

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  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Dan, thank you for sharing this. I’ll never forget when I first heard you describe the VENN Diagram at Coaching with Excellence. It makes so much sense. I still have my notes from that day! Having multiple streams of income has given me freedom to scale my coaching business and not be in that 95% of coaches who never make more than 40k. I’m forever grateful to you.

    And funny how you got your start with a Sunday School Class. Mine came through a Ladies Bible Study class — that I still teach to this day! Like you, I wasn’t looking at turning the content I was sharing in my class into a business but the doors just kept opening quickly and they were hungry for the content and connection.

  • carson

    Warren Buffett does not have on his office walls his degrees in business from columbia university and the university of nebraska but he does have his degree there from a dale carnegie public speaking course. I think he paid $100 back in the 50’s.

  • Great information Dan.

  • I love this topic. When I first saw the Venn diagram at Coaching with Excellence my eyes lit up. A distant dream of making great money as a coach became a viable option. With a full one on one caseload currently, I’m working on adding another bubble to my diagram. I’m working on building a course to gain more leverage with my time and expertise. Thank you for this powerful perspective Dan!