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I can remember exactly where I was the first time I heard the stat that 90% of coaches earn less than $20,000 per annum.
I was back in England and taking my dog for a walk in the pine woods near my house.
I had subscribed to the ICF Members Area (International Coach Federation) and for $20 per month I could download and listen to their monthly podcasts and peruse all sorts of coaching-related material.
Of course, this was 2004 and they weren’t called podcasts and iPhones were still a glint in Steve Jobs eye. The reality was I had recorded each live event and was listening on a good old-fashioned iPod.
I had just let the hound off the leash and was wrapping the leash up to put in my coat pocket.
Then I stopped in my tracks and thought, ‘that can’t be right’. I backed up the recording and listened again.
That can't be right
Do you know what I thought?
‘Yeh well, that won’t apply to me’
And do you know why I thought that?
No, neither do I.
There was no reason why I would be part of the 10% and not the 90%.
I was going to a new country with no support network and no rolodex of people to call on.
I had zero experience in online marketing, and I was a brand-new coach without a body of work or testimonials to call on for social proof.
I had nothing other than my blind optimism going for me.
Sure, I knew how to sell, but I didn’t understand marketing and the former without the latter is a bit like having a television without a power supply.
You may think that Fairley’s stats were applicable 15 years ago, but not now.
And you'd be wrong.
The coaching industry is even more competitive now than it was back then.
It’s easy to be seduced by the promises of the training companies and even the ICF.
Most people who start a career in coaching quit before they make it financially sustainable.
The sad thing is, it’s not because they are lazy, unlucky, or not very smart.
And it’s seldom even because they cannot coach effectively.
It’s because they don’t know how to market themselves.
Having a cool website is pointless if you don’t understand UX (user experience) and UI (user interface).
Using social media is a gigantic waste of time if you don’t have a strategy to convert followers into clients.
And blogging is nonsensical if you don’t know the fundamentals of SEO (search engine optimization) and how to drive traffic to what you write.
That may all sound a tad depressing, but it shouldn’t because it doesn’t need to apply to you.
You CAN Do This
If you are smart enough to learn how to coach, then you are smart enough to learn how to market yourself.
I got lucky because when I started coaching there was little competition and I succeeded, at least to begin with, in spite of myself rather than because of myself.
This site will offer resources to help you build a solid coaching practice, it’s up to you whether you use them or not.
But make no mistake, your competition will.