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In the first part of the “Selling Coaching” series we will teach you to stop coaching for free.

One of the most challenging parts of launching and sustaining your services business is breaking through the barrier of coaching for free.

The type of coaching does not matter – life coach, nutrition coach, relationship coach, executive coach – when you first launch your business, there are four challenges you are up against:

  1. Selling Coaching: STIGMA:

    Break the barrier that society often aligns with coaching by discrediting our work compared to traditional therapists, doctors, recruiters, or trainers.

  2. Selling Coaching: CARING:

    There is a good chance your caring nature, and desire to help others led you to do this kind of work. Your gift can become your curse, if you don’t set boundaries that allow you to stop working for free.

  3. Selling Coaching: CONFIDENCE:

    Let’s face it, being a coach means you exist in a saturated market. You will be the only one in your own way, and until you gain confidence in your coaching approach, it’s going to be hard to gain your client’s confidence.

  4. Selling Coaching: EXPERIENCE:

    We all start somewhere, and this may be your biggest fear motivating you to give away your time and talent for free.

Don’t let these challenges deter you from your goal of creating a successful coaching business. Let’s take a look at how each of these difficulties are actually creating an opportunity for you to NOT coach for free.

The stigma around coaching is that it is either corny, or a waste of money on an ammateur.

This is actually creating an opportunity to speak directly to your client’s fear through your coaching website, blog, newsletter, or social media posts.

This is the space where you expand on your approach, and gain your customer’s trust. As they become more familiar with your approach, the more likely they are to buy your service. In every one of these communications, make sure to give them an opportunity to contact you for coaching services. The maximum you should offer for free is a discovery session e-mail, and a 30-minute phone consultation.

If they do not buy your service right away, don’t be discouraged, instead ask for their permission to add them to your mailing list, and put them in your calendar for a follow-up 3 months from your initial contact.

On average, a potential client needs to come across your message 6 times before investing their money.

The caring nature that brought you to this line of work is what is going to connect you to your customer. They want you to be their guide, but they also want to relate to you.

selling coaching

Instead of giving away your advice for free during initial communication, take that time to share an example from your life that relates to what they are going through.

By being honest and vulnerable, you are creating a safe space for them to do the same – and this is key for IMPACTFUL coaching. When you do this, it is significant for your client’s growth, and increases your client lifetime value with you.

What does that mean?

They are more likely to return to you as their life journey continues. It’s not just this hurdle that you are helping them through, life has continuous twists and turns, and this allows you to position yourself as a resource for them – for life.

Your confidence and experience as a coach go hand-in-hand.

Reality is, you only have to be two-steps ahead of your client to be able to coach them. Repeat this as often as possible before getting on a call with a potential client.

You are going to have to get your feet wet, and that might mean that your first round of clients may not be paying in the form of money, but there are SEVERAL different options here for you to gain a rightful exchange for the energy you are investing.


In fact, coaching can be your most cost-effective marketing resource, it’s called the 80/20 rule: 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients.

Yes, you read that right.

It is 20% of your actual clients, email list, or social media following that will be the most fruitful for your business success.

selling coaching

You never have to coach for free.

Yes, you have to get your feet wet, and test your approach, but that does not mean it has to be completely free.

Draw up a contract for those that you are coaching for no money, and have them commit to at least two ways they can help your business. Here are a few ideas:

  • Written or video testimonial
  • Refer you to a paying client
  • Buy a product from you
  • Share your post on social media

There are always options to exchange your coaching for something that will benefit the long-run of your business. You never have to coach for free, even if you are a new coach.

Next in this series we will talk about common mistakes that are made when growing your coaching business.

About the author

Sahar Paz

Sahar Paz

Sahar Paz started her first profit-generating business at the age of 13, and has been an entrepreneur ever since. During her years in New York City she worked in Banking and Fashion while running her own non-profit. Sahar now resides in Houston, Texas as a Keynote Speaker, Author, and Coach to entrepreneurs, adults and teens. When she is not inspiring others, Sahar loves to salsa dance!


  1. Terrance

    Thanks Sarah,
    I stumbled upon this article at just the right time. I am in the process of building a business that will likely include an opportunity to coach new UX designers. I’ve been struggling with how to covert the advice i give into paying client. Your words and thoughts are very helpful and provide great insights into how i should move forward.

    1. Selz

      Kristen DeCosta

      Thanks for your comment Terrance! I am so glad you found this article so helpful to your current situation. That’s our goal here at FounderU. Stay tuned, we’ll have more articles coming out in this series that will definitely help you!

    2. Sahar Paz

      Hey Terrance!

      I’m so happy to hear that my words found you in the right time.

      I’m sure you have a lot of valuable knowledge to share or this opportunity to coach would not have come your way. No matter what you charge, draw up a contract, so that you and your client, understand you mean business! Keep coming back to FounderU – more to come from this series!

      – Sahar

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