How To Build A Winning Coaching Business
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How To Build A Winning Coaching Business

How To Build A Winning Coaching Business

By John Jantsch

Marketing Podcast with Marc Mawhinney

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Marc Mawhinney. Marc is a lifelong entrepreneur who helps coaches get more clients without paid advertising. He achieves this with his coaching programs, his podcast Natural Born Coaches, his Facebook group The Coaching Jungle, and his exclusive print newsletter – Secret Coach Club.

Key Takeaway:

There are certainly a lot of people jumping into the coaching profession. Building a successful coaching business isn’t rocket science, but it does take following proven steps and building things properly from the ground up. In this episode, Marc Mawhinney and I walk through how to cut through the noise today and what it takes to build a profitable coaching business.

Questions I ask Marc Mawhinney:

  • [1:37] How long have you yourself been a coach and where’d you get started with your training?
  • [2:59] How do you find that you’re able to cut through that noise that you mentioned?
  • [4:27] How do you get clients without paid advertising?
  • [6:12] If I’m just getting started as a coach and need to get clients, is there a channel that you would tell people is a great place to get a jumpstart?
  • [7:38] When you are working with coaches, what’s the thing they get wrong most often?
  • [9:38] How does somebody who doesn’t have a reputation already go about building a reputation of influence or expertise?
  • [11:45] What are some of the practices that you see that top-tier coach coaching businesses do?
  • [13:52] What do you see successful coaches doing to actually stimulate referrals?
  • [16:07] Is there a delivery mechanism you see that works best for coaching nowadays?
  • [19:21] Are there any trends that you see in coaching right now you think people ought to be paying attention to?
  • [20:18] Where can more people find out about your programs and your work?

More About Marc Mawhinney:

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by the Salesman Podcast, hosted by Will Barron brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. Look, if you work in sales, wanna learn how to sell or just peek at the latest sales news. Check out the sales podcast where host will Barron helps sales professionals learn how to find buyers and in big business in effective and ethical ways. One of my favorite episodes lately, how to personalize your sales outreach at massive scale, who doesn't want to do that? Listen to the salesman podcast, wherever you get your podcast.

John Jantsch (00:46): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Marc Mawhinney. He's a lifelong entrepreneur who helps coaches get more clients without paid advertising. He achieves this with his coaching programs, his podcast, natural born coaches, his Facebook group, the coaching jungle and his exclusive print newsletter secret coach club. So mark, welcome to the show.

Marc Mawhinney (01:15): Well, uh, thanks for having me, John, and I should let people know, uh, what a good guy you are. I messed up our original meeting last week where I didn't up at our time, uh, scheduling snafu. Totally my fault, but you're very gracious and here we are today. So it's embarrassing for me, but thank you for not, uh, blocking me and kicking me outta your

John Jantsch (01:33): World. Now you've done your public penance there. So all all is right. So, so how long let's talk a little bit about your journey. How long have you yourself been a coach and kinda where do you get started your training? Cuz there's, there's certainly a lot of people jumping into the profession and I'd, I'd love to hear kind of maybe how your, your approach or your point of difference.

Marc Mawhinney (01:54): Yeah, so I officially started March, 2014, so we're around eight years now. And at the time I thought I was too late to the party of I was crowded and uh, I waited too long and here we are in 2022 and it's 10 times noisier and way more coaches. So the more of the story, there's never a perfect time. Just jump in there and do it. Now. My background's actually real estate. You know, I spent about a decade building up a large real estate company and throughout my twenties, and then everything collapsed in 2009. Right. And basically I went through a rough period of couple years where after nonstop success, it was just a couple years of struggle and everything. I touched, turned to crap instead of gold. And I was held back to my feet by several coaches. And that's how I found out about coaching. What eventually led me into start my coaching business in 2014,

John Jantsch (02:41): You made a use the word, no, uh, noisy. Mm. And I think that I too have, you know, I work with consultants and have for many years. And when I started my program maybe 10 years ago, I don't know that there were too many people out there now everybody's selling some sort of training for digital agencies. And you know, how do you find that you kind of cut through that

Marc Mawhinney (03:01): Noise? Well, I like yourself. I mean, you've been at it longer than me and there's that consistency, you know, since 2014, I've released 751 episodes as of today for my podcast, you know? And I've gone on a lot of shows like this. I I've been doing daily emails to my list since 26 steam and haven't missed a day there. So it's not always a sexy superpower consistency. Yeah. Cause everyone's looking for, you know, the magic bullet, but it's just showing up every day and then you're gonna outlast those people that we've all seen. They jump into it and the, and they, uh, burn themselves out. You know, they, they don't make the million bucks in the first month they get frustrated and then they're gone. So a lot of it was just me showing up every day. Like, was it Woody Allens it showing up half the battle or something? I don't know. I'm not a big Woody Allen fan, but for his movies. But I think he said that,

John Jantsch (03:49): So let me get this straight. You're saying you work really hard for a long time. That's the secret.

Marc Mawhinney (03:53): Yeah. Go figure. Yeah.

John Jantsch (03:55): Who wants? I like that.

Marc Mawhinney (03:57): I'm an optimistic person, but uh, what to things like business, I'm also realistic. So I say I'm an optimistic realist. Uh, so I'm not the type, uh, you know, when you plant a seed and you, uh, sprinkle some water on it and stuff, you don't expect it to come up outta the ground until the next day, I just assume it'll happen. So yeah. I mean, everything I do is with that in mind that, Hey, I'm just gonna do my best job possible, gonna hang in there. And then the results usually come, but I don't beat myself up if I don't get a bunch of money coming in on day one to trying something. Right.

John Jantsch (04:27): So in the intro, you mentioned that you do marketing, uh, for coaches or teach marketing for coaches without, uh, paid advertising. So I'm guessing somebody listening to this show, I go, okay, how do I, you know, get clients without paid advertising market?

Marc Mawhinney (04:42): Well, we just touched on it. You gotta roll up your sleeves and do some work. Yeah. Uh, so when I got started in 2014 coming off of bad business closure where I lost everything, you know, went belly up. I didn't have the benefit of having a big war chest. Like I had back in my real estate days, cuz I used to do a ton of now we're talking about the stone ages, you know, the early 2000, but I did a lot of postcard mailouts and radio advertising and print advertising and so on and all. And then when I start coaching, I'm like, oh man, I don't have that. I can't be spending tens of thousands of dollars a month on marketing. Uh, at the time I thought of negative looking back now there was a silver lining there cuz it forced me to really hone my message.

Marc Mawhinney (05:20): I had to do it all or, and put that work into it. And so I do find a lot of times people try to shortcut the process of this coaching. Let's say they're coming from corporate America, they got their golden parachute or they're sitting on a bunch of money and they think I'll just hire some, uh, funnel expert or guru and spend 30 or 50 grand and that'll handle it. But yeah, that, that's how coaches can do it is just by rolling up your sleeves. I know it sounds like common sense and just doing it.

John Jantsch (05:48): So, you know, I talk about that as, as well. And I talk about, you know, the various channels and you know, ways that we can reach our clients and inevitably somebody, you know, comes up like I'll, I'll, I'll do a talk to seven steps to, you know, marketing, small business marketing success or something. And at the end I'll always, somebody will come up and say, that's great. There's all these things we gotta do. But like what's the one thing, right? So, so if I'm, if I, if I'm just getting started, say as a coach and I really, you know, I do need to get clients. Is there a channel, is there a place, is there an activity that you would tell people? Well, as you're just getting started, here's, you know, here's something you should at least do to maybe kind of jumpstart.

Marc Mawhinney (06:28): I mean there's more than one way to skin a cat, right? So there's certain ma uh, platforms that I prefer you and I chatted about this. When you came on my show, a good example, you with blogging. I mean, that was a great way that got your name out there, put you on the map and everything for me podcast really have three pillars, podcasting. That's my show. But also going out on shows, I like this. There's a Facebook group, really community building. Uh, so I have the coaching jungle group and then the third ways with daily email marketing. So what I would say is, um, the, your three pillars or a couple things may be different than mine, but find, uh, one or a couple things that you enjoy doing and that you can get results from and then consistently do it instead of trying to spread out and do every single thing that's out there. Cause you don't have the time to do that. So it's like trying to start a fire with a magnifying glass. If you're moving it around, it's not gonna catch on fire. Uh, you gotta keep in one place. Yeah. Yeah.

John Jantsch (07:19): Great. Uh, point, I remember doing that as a kid all the time, um, laying

Marc Mawhinney (07:23): You with the little army figures, it goes Bart Simpson, one of the episodes of the Simpsons, he was melting the little green army guy.

John Jantsch (07:30): Um, I, I think you kind of answered this already, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna pose it to you directly and you could say, well, yeah, that's what I meant by that. But when you are working with coaches, what do you see that they tip? What, what's the thing they get wrong most often?

Marc Mawhinney (07:43): Well, especially with new coaches, uh, they assume that they're gonna spend, uh, roughly 80% of their time coaching. And then, oh, the other 20% maybe finding clients doing a little bit of backend paperwork and stuff, but the majority of their time will be spent coaching. Yeah. Anyone who spend any time the business and is that it's a flip side of it. And actually it wouldn't even be 20% of your time. Coaching is probably even less, but the, the vast majority of your time spent, uh, doing the things to, to find clients, which some people don't like because they do the coaching, right. That's why they're getting into it. And they, they think, oh gee, I don't wanna be selling it. I don't wanna be posting content marketing or whatever, but that's what you have to do. You're gonna be a, uh, well kept secret. If you're not willing to get out there. I've often said if I had to put my money on one of two coaches, if there's a mediocre coach that has amazing advertiser marketing and, and skills, but then there's this incredible coach best in the world, but sucks at marketing. I'd put my money in the mediocre coach. Unfortunately. Uh, that's just the way the world is.

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John Jantsch (09:38): You know, you've been doing this for a while. You've put lots of time and energy into building a bit of a reputation. There's no question that has value, right? I mean, people, uh, see you, they begin to like you and trust you and they're willing to pay a premium perhaps to work with you because of a reputation. How does somebody who doesn't have that go about building, uh, a reputation of influence or in expertise without, you know, without having that kind of long term, uh, success?

Marc Mawhinney (10:09): Well, I mean, I think, uh, one great way to do it's podcasting and you're a fan of podcasting too. I started my show in November of 2014. So I was still within that first year of being in business. The podcast got me in touch with some really, uh, great people. You know, some were big names, uh, some weren't so big names with their interesting people. Well, connected got my foot in the door with others. And then when people went to check, they're like, oh, gee, he's, you know, host a podcast. He's had these people on, like for example, I rich Lipton and Steve Chandler on my show fairly early in the run, they wrote the prosperous coach and they're well known in, in coaching circles. So people say, oh, Jay mark knows rich. And Steve, you know, now we're not best buddies or anything like that, but we talk from time to time with both those guys. And they're great. So I think podcasting, especially where there's little to expense to do it, or it's peanuts, that's probably your best bang for your buck. As long as you're patient with it, you don't expect to make the million dollars in the first week or anything like that.

John Jantsch (11:08): You mentioned the real estate industry and you know, it's most people, I don't know if most people know this or not, but probably about 20% of residential real estate, eight agents make any real money. Uh, the other, you know, run around it's part-time job. They get in it, get out of it. There's some similarity. I think in coaching, you know, it's very easy to get into coaching, you know, call yourself a coach. I think the, the top 20% are probably people that treat it as a real business that are very successful. Now I'm not disparaging the industry. I'm just that, you know, you can go industry by industry and that's probably the case. So, so having said that, what are some of the things practices not necessarily marketing, but what are some of the practices that you see that, that top tier, uh, coach coaching business do?

Marc Mawhinney (11:51): Well, I'm glad you mentioned about the similarities, cuz I've said that often before too, I catch myself, instead of saying coach, I might say agent or something. Yeah. First you think, well, there's not no similarities between the two, but actually there is, I just actually wrote an email the other day about this. And I said, one of the things I noticed that successful, uh, coaches don't do versus unsuccessful is complain. You know? And what I mean by that, I, everybody complains, you know, human or whatever, but they, they, they're not spending their time griping about, well, well, here's an example which I noticed in real estate, and this is why I love coaching in real estate. I was in a, a small, I say small market in Atlantic. Canada's 300 agents in my marketplace and everybody talked crap about everyone because they would, if I got a listing or John gets a listing, then O GE John took food off my, uh, table.

Marc Mawhinney (12:38): Right. He got that commission. I just talked to that homeowner two weeks ago. I should add it. Yeah. You know, or stuff like that. So in real estate, uh, the agents are all 364 days of the year, stabbing each other in the back. And then at the Christmas party for the real estate board, they're hugging it at each other, like their best friends. Then it's back to normal with the coaching world. What I like about it is it's not like that because, uh, it you're in, uh, Colorado. Right? I am, I am. So if, if you're in Colorado, you get a client I'm not grumbling up. You're like, oh geez, John, that bugger, he got that, you know, whatever, it's billions dollars a year industry. And it's just not saying everybody loves each other all the time. There's of course feuding and things, but, but yeah, I've find the successful coaches. They're not looking at the complaining or, or bringing other people down. And I see some coaches on social media, especially that some of the stuff they're posting, uh, about is, uh, it's kind of depressing. I'm like, I don't think I'd want to work with that person. They're just complaining that much. So there, there would be one thing that would differentiate to,

John Jantsch (13:34): So

John Jantsch (13:36): Coaching is one of those businesses, like a lot of professional services where a high level of trust really needs to be established with clients. So I'm guessing Nile, I know this, that referrals are a really big part of, you know, how a lot of coaches probably acquire new business. So what do you see success coaches doing to actually stimulate that? Obviously doing good work, being trustworthy. You know, those are things that are gonna make referrals happen, but I see a lot of businesses that get a lot of referrals, but they don't do anything to try to actually stimulate them. In fact, I, I, I sure one statistic and then I'll show up that, that their firstly, a Texas tech, the university did a study in, they found they interviewed 2000 consumers and, and 86 or so percent of them said there was a business they loved so much, they would refer. And then the flip side of that was only 27% of them actually did. And so, you know, I often say there's gotta be some real money in that gap. You know, it's not enough to just have happy customers. You've gotta do something to stimulate that, that referability I think,

Marc Mawhinney (14:38): Yeah. I mean, one thing, it sounds kind of funny to say it, uh, you have to ask for referrals, which I don't think that's being done nearly enough. I'm probably guilty of that too. Yeah. You know, full disclosure. One of the things I do in this might sound a little, uh, craft, but I, I think it does help if somebody refers business to me, whether it be a client or good joint venture partner or something, I sounds bad. I'll pay them. Yeah. I'll pay for the referral. Yeah. I know some people say, well, you shouldn't do that cuz it, you know, or whatever, it's my way saying, Hey, um, I appreciate you keeping me in mind. And I would pay all day long if someone's handing me a good client on a silver platter. I given referrals to people. It's not that I'm doing it just for, you know, money or monetary gain, but sometimes I'm not even getting thanks, uh, from people, uh, before, which is, I'm like, wow, that's kind of silly if somebody's referring you business and a really good client, one person I know, you know, not to, not to complain cuz I just talked to complaining, but uh, I gave them a five figure client, a really good client or whatever.

Marc Mawhinney (15:33): And I got a little, uh, nut basket or something in the mail, you know, like a $20 basket, which is fine. Like, you know, I'm not a big nut fan or whatever, but yeah, if somebody's given me a client worth 10,000, $50,000, I'm gonna give them a nice gift.

John Jantsch (15:49): So let's go back to, uh, delivery on coaching. So, you know, a lot of coaches, a lot of consultants, a lot of businesses in general, understand the value of having kind of this maybe starter offer and then a core offer and then, you know, group offers and, you know, big, you know, scale program. Do you, you know, is there a delivery mechanism that is, um, you know, is probably the best for coaching now or should every coaching practice have a variety of maybe price points even as well as, uh, delivery mechanisms?

Marc Mawhinney (16:21): Uh, well it's tough because there's different ways to do it. Yeah. You know, uh, some people or a lot of people like the latter approach, uh, where you start with the low price or low ticket thing and then work your way up. I know some coaches at that don't want to get into that. They swear by the no, you start with the big ticket thing. And that's what you're focusing on. The one thing I will say with mine is with my ladder. So to speak, my offers go anywhere from a, a base. I have a print newsletter that's $97 a month, 9 97 a year. That's my, uh, most affordable offering. That's how people can get into my, they they're allowed to pick my brain by email subscribers there. Then it goes all the way up 10,000 to not, but I don't play in the world where, um, a lot of people are like, Hey, let's have a $7 e-book to get people in there and stuff.

Marc Mawhinney (17:05): And I, I just prefer to, uh, have that as a base $97 a month. And if you're not able to do that or not willing to, then that's fine, but you gotta pay to play or have some skin in the game, uh, that way too. So you could do it any number of ways. My suggestion though is not to have too many. So a true story. I had a client, uh, years ago, this was probably five or six years ago. And when we started working together before our first call, I'd want to get as much information as possible, get a feel for his business. And he said, oh, I I'll send over a spreadsheet with my offers to show you what I'm doing. And oh my God, there's like 36 different offers of different, uh, lengths of time frequency for sessions. And I said, how do you keep track of this? Like, you know, he was even confused with it. So you shouldn't need a spreadsheet to track your offers, keep it, you know, keep it simple. Nice and

John Jantsch (17:54): Easy. Plus how do, how do you ever explain all those offers to somebody, as you said, without them coming, just going, I don't know what to depend.

Marc Mawhinney (17:59): They're caught like a, the cot headlights. There's been different studies too showing, uh, one that comes to mind, uh, Joe showman. But yeah, he was doing some work with the Swiss army people. They had a Swiss army with that they're selling and he went in to meet with them. And I guess there were three different types of that Watchers. Uh men's women's and the children's models. And there were three different colors for each. I think it was camouflage black and a different color. And uh, he, they wanted him to have all nine of those models, three times three on the full page ad we, which he did not want do, but they said, no, you know, no, we want do it. He want to run with just the men's black model with it and he couldn't talk them out of it. So he agreed, okay, we'll do a AB split test. We'll put my ad simple one choice versus your ad and see which one does better. And um, pretty sure that his simple one watch ad pulled like four times better or something like that. Yeah. And, uh, so a lot of people think, oh, well there's more selection. You'll get more sales. It's actually the other way, it's more selection confuses the buyer and then they end up not opening their

John Jantsch (18:58): Wallets. Yeah. You certainly see a lot of good, better, best, you know, where people's like, you know, and it's really almost more way of helping somebody make a decision cuz it, you know, always the middle choice says most popular, you know, kinda psychologically sells them the one thing, but also says, oh, it's not the most expensive, you know? So it's, there's a lot of psych psychology and pricing isn't there. So, so let's close up on, are there any trends that you see in coaching right now or trends in delivery models or trends you knows like membership programs where big, you know, for a while, I mean, are there any things that you see coming, uh, in the future that you think people ought be paying attention to?

Marc Mawhinney (19:36): Well, I think a trend that we're and I already saw this the last few years, but I think it's gonna be even more pronounced going forward is coaches are gonna have to deliver on what they're promising. So, you know, gone are the days when you could, you know, put up a fancy sales page or what make all these big promises but not deliver and then still expect to stay in business. I, I think the customer clients are becoming more sophisticated, maybe more jaded too. Yeah. They've been Burt by one or two of these bad apples. Uh, so you're gonna have to do better there and that's good for people like us at weeds at the bad actors and keep doing, you know, the good people will profit. So that's what, what I would see that coaches are gonna have to, you're not gonna have to, uh, not just give the sizzle, but the steak as well, I guess. Yeah.

John Jantsch (20:18): All right. Mark, tell people where they can find out more about your natural born coaches program, the coaching jungle, all the things wherever you wanna send people. Yeah.

Marc Mawhinney (20:24): Well the central hub has the podcast, the access to my daily emails, all that that's at natural born coaches.com and uh, you are a guests on my show. So hopefully your show will be up by time. They go over and check it out. But natural born coaches.com the Facebook group, like you mentioned, the coaching jungle, there's 22,000 coaches in there. Lots of great discussion. That's at dot coaching jungle.com.

John Jantsch (20:45): Awesome. Well, mark, it was great. Uh, having you come by the duct tape marketing podcast and hopefully we'll, uh, run into you, uh, one of these days when I'm up in, uh, Canada again.

Marc Mawhinney (20:54): Yeah, come on over and double go skiing or something. Wintery sounds Awesome.

John Jantsch (20:59): All right. That wraps up another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. I wanna thank you so much for tuning in. Feel free to share the show, feel free to give us reviews. You know, we love those things. Also. Did you know that we had created training, marketing training for your team? If you've got employees, if you've got a staff member that wants to learn a marketing system, how to install that marketing system in your business, check it out. It's called the certified marketing manager program from duct tape. You can find it at ducttapemarketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that tab that says training for your team.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network and WorkBetterNow.

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