After training many life coaches around the world, I find that those who actually build a business easily are the ones that most actively get out there. The ones that don’t make it are the ones hiding at home trying to obtain clients from inside their safety cave! Here are some creative ideas that, yes, do require you to get out there:
1. Providing small workshops to people who may become your clients.
It is important to think outside of the box here, and to actively make calls to companies, organizations, organizers of local events etc. For most coaches, talking to a group of 10 people ends up yielding 1 client either directly or indirectly if done well. The response may not be immediate, but if you leave a lasting impression, people will remember you. Workshops are exposure.
2. Providing small workshops to people who talk to your potential clients.
Actively connect to PTAs, the school of your children, trainers of a local sports club or gym, the local yacht club, hair dressers (frequently used as replacement psychologists), staff at the local newspaper (who may write an article about you), the co-workers of a person you know, etc.
3. Offering a service or creating a synergy with local psychologists, body workers, health professionals, etc.
Many people do a completely different job than you do. For instance, as a coach you don’t sit in the chair of the psychologist, personal trainer, nutritionist or medical doctor. Yet these people are amazing sources of referral for you, and you can be for them.
4. Getting exposure through unique projects
I have students who were able to gain (media) exposure by organizing unique projects or doing off the wall things relating to happiness & well being. Whether it being organizing an international “dream day” movement, running a marathon in a costume, interviewing people on the street about what happiness is to them, working with fears and phobias at a booth in the mall, taking 30 kids for “inspiration day”, etc.
Start coaching people at a home for battered women, kids who have trouble spelling, refugee centers, etc. They may not be a paying client, but anyone who gets in touch with them may be. With this I would like to make one thing clear, this is not about donating coaching services to people who ask for it. This is about actively getting into schools, organizations, foundations … locations where other people work, that may want to hire you or talk about you to others.
6. Starting a group
Whether it is a support group of some kind, a weight loss challenge, training for a marathon, moms of ADD children, people taking care of elderly parents, those going through divorce, a group for recent career switchers, or people who are clueless as to what they want to do with their life, etc.
7. Media exposure
Though an amazingly creative project can get you media exposure, you can also make some calls yourself to get media exposure. The local radio or newspaper may be interested in placing an article you have written, or doing an interview with you. It helps if you have something more to talk about than just your coaching business. These people may never call you, but what would happen if you called (not emailed) them and invited a key figure for coffee?
8. Becoming a Teacher in a topic relating to coaching
Several students of mine became part time teachers in very specific niche markets at local colleges or schools. This helped them to get exposure and amazing additions to their coaching resumes. These were actually paid positions too! Topics, for instance, are: emotional intelligence, motivational speaking, personality typing, NLP, becoming an entrepreneur, etc. Some of the top colleges or trade schools internationally even hired former students.
9. Talking to strangers and inviting them for coffee
Being a social butterfly may help, from talking to people in airports, coffee houses, bus stops, everywhere you go. Especially talking to people that have a lot of connections with people may help: yoga instructors, hair dressers, teachers, company owners, head of the PTA. And if that conversation is of interest to you, you may want to invite someone for coffee in order for you to make a real big impression (when you do, consider watching this youtube video about NLP and networking.)
10. Acquiring contact details of interest and invite them for coffee/lunch
In talking to as many people as possible, you may find it possible to acquire a few contact details of people who work for companies that may want to hire coaches, well connected people, etc. Get out there and talk to people.
11. Be really bold!
Make a really bold call of some kind, for example find out the name of the head person at your local chamber of commerce and call them directly and ask for a meeting. Take the head master of the local school to lunch, discussing your solutions in motivating kids and teachers. The mayor of your town, a (local) celebrity or sports hero, the head of the hospital, the famous plastic surgeon around the corner, etc. Think of anyone connected, especially those that may never get requests like this or may be amused that you have the courage to just ask for a meeting. No you have, yes you can get!
12. Completing a massive goal of your own
From climbing Mount Everest, to losing 100 pounds of weight, running a marathon and making sure you drum up attention for doing so. Especially the media may be interested.
13.Wearing the product that gets attention
Create an inspirational bracelet, cap, bag, or T-shirt that gets attention everywhere you walk. I once had t-shirts that simply had the words “hug me” and another with the Dutch word for being a sweetheart “lief” on it, I got stopped (and hugged) everywhere. Sometimes I would forget I was wearing the T-shirts, and wonder why people were so nice to me, striking conversation and smiling. Note: I did wear those t-shirts before the hug movement, and before everyone else started to wear the sweet heart t-shirts.
14. Attending seminars where your client hangs out
You would be surprised how many clients I gained through attending seminars, or people who talked to other people at seminars about me.
15. Getting a coaching office that gets noticed
Either in a hugely unique location, or a location where potential clients walk by and notice your unique sign on the door.