By Johnny and Yusef
The last couple of years have been pretty tough for lots of people.
But it’s also accelerated an existing trend:
- People are prioritising their health more than ever
- People are starting to recognise the value in online coaching
We’ve been coaching since 2009, but we’ve never seen such strong growth in the online fitness market.
And it’s only going to get bigger.
We’re going to take you through the full method we used to build Propane Fitness and generate £10-£15k per month.
And we’re also going to share some of the mistakes we made when we first started, so that you can avoid them.
Who we are
We set up Propane in 2009. At the time, we were working full-time in the financial sector and were able to quit our jobs and go full-time with online personal training.
Between us, we’ve also written hundreds of articles and podcast episodes, have hundreds of thousands of listeners and have featured in magazines like Men’s Health.
But when we first started, we completely fumbled our way through building our business.
The key to success is to monetise your expertise in some way.
But the big mistake we made was this:
We misjudged our niche.
We spoke about things that only other personal trainers cared about. This meant that a lot of the people following us ended up being other personal trainers and coaches who would ask us for advice on the systems we used.
This is what eventually led us to stumble into the business mentoring space.
Now, we do both.
We still do online personal training but also help personal trainers to grow their own online businesses.
We can only teach what we’ve successfully done.
There are plenty of things we’ve tried and failed.
But what we do know (and have done successfully for over a decade) is online coaching.
And this is something you should expect from any guru.
Ask yourself whether they’re teaching what they’ve actually done.
When they haven’t, it really shows.
This brings us onto our next point…
How to spot scammy gurus
Beware of any self-proclaimed fitness gurus who promise you £30k a month overnight.
Sure, you can blast the high-ticket sales and have a big month.
But that’s not a sustainable business model.
We’ve evolved our own business over ten years into a systematic process
It’s taken lots of focus and determination.
And there are no quick fixes.
But if you can serve a particular need, then with the right systems you can predictably make your online business work.
First, you need to make sure you’re able to match your offline income with your online income so that you can safely make the leap.
Burning your bridges and jumping into it too quickly will just lead to you make decisions that could damage your business long-term.
And you don’t have to quit your job to get to stage one of matching your offline income.
Five hours of directed work per week – on the right things – can get you there.
The thing that switched things for us and allowed us to become financially independent was switching from manual to automated systems.
This freed up our time to focus on building our business.
And our income.
The benefits of online coaching
Coaching online clients takes far less time than coaching people in-person.
That in itself is a massive lifestyle shift, giving you more time to spend with friends and family.
And you get to choose who you work with.
And where you work.
You can help thousands of people because of the ripple effect that your content has.
And your income doesn’t stop just because you or your client go on holiday.
Another great advantage is that don’t have to worry about covering the cost of renting a space.
So, how do you do it?
You’ve got to reverse-engineer it. Look at the end point and ask yourself:
- Who am I going to be working with?
- How much do I charge them?
- How do I get those people?
- How do I get them a result?
- How do I keep them happy?
- How do I scale beyond word-of-mouth?
If you can answer those questions, you’ve got a viable online coaching business.
Becoming financially independent is something you can comfortably do in a year.
You can find out how in this article or watch this video:
Finding your niche
The online coaching market can seem overcrowded.
But if you have a niche, you’ll find it much easier to stand out.
And one real benefit of online coaching is that you’re not limited by your location. You’ve suddenly got access to any keyword, any type of audience.
But how do you find your niche?
Forget the person and focus on the problem that you’re solving.
Read more about how to pick your niche as an online coach or watch this video:
How much should you charge?
Next, you’ll want to think about how much to charge.
High- and low-ticket pricing in online coaching each come with their own risks around meeting expectations and retaining clients.
And the typical advice you’ll hear is that you need to up your price and charge your worth.
But the problem with high-ticket coaching is this:
Nobody in their right mind will pay £5K for fat loss coaching when they can sign up with an app for £5 a month.
And to make any sales as a high-ticket coach, you’re likely to need to factor in the cost and time spent on sales calls.
The high-ticket model also has a very high attrition rate, because it’s very rare to see consistent renewals.
This will be stressful for you if you’re trying to build a business with a steady monthly income.
All of this considered, the return on investment doesn’t end up being all that much.
Mid-ticket coaching is a much more sustainable model.
Think about your business in terms of lifetime value rather than trying to maximise cash up-front.
One of our clients has been with us for nine years, and his lifetime value is over £11,000.
On top of this, people will stay with you for long enough to get results.
Because the price is reasonable enough for them to work with you long-term.
And this generates referrals.
How to scale your business
If you’re a successful online coach, you will reach a point where you have to think about scaling.
But as you attempt to scale, if your prices are too high you can end up with more sales calls and less time for coaching.
And with more clients coming on board who need one-to-one help, you might end up with less time for sales calls…
Which results in more clients leaving because they don’t receive the results they want.
But with the mid-ticket model, scaling can help you grow your business.
That’s because it’s the systems in your business that deliver the programming.
And each time you build a resource, that becomes the definitive resource for that programme.
So as more people go through it, it becomes better refined.
And each time you market to the same person in a specific niche, the feedback from that helps you refine your marketing process.
Why you shouldn’t rely on social media to generate leads
We’ve seen so many online coaches spend hours on Instagram content.
They’ll post tons of reels and stories and just hope it eventually leads to sales.
But this isn’t a reliable lead-generation system.
Amazon didn’t get to be as big as it is because Jeff’s really good at TikTok.
And how can you be sure that any of your social media posts have even generated any sales?
We have very sophisticated sales tracking systems in place at this point…
And I can tell you with certainty that Instagram is the second least profitable platform out of everything that we do.
But people spend loads of time on it because it looks like everyone’s doing really well on it.
Read more about how to attribute sales here or watch this video:
Our 14-Day Challenge
If you’re an offline coach, it’s easy to believe that getting online clients is as simple as converting the ones you’ve found offline to online coaching.
But it’s not as simple as this.
Because the clients you attract offline won’t be the same people you attract online.
What we recommend instead is a 14-day sales system that we’ve tried and tested.
14 days is the average time it takes for our clients to go from cold opt-in to buying something.
And across other online businesses people have seen similar results.
It’s all about front-loading all of your best content so that that customer journey is standardised.
And you use all of that content to work through objections and specific limiting beliefs that someone might have about being able to sign up with your program.
You follow this up with an automated nurture sequence.
And the real benefit of having all of this in place is that once you’ve recorded content, it’s all automated.
So your marketing is working 24/7 for you.
You can find out more about how our 14-Day Challenge works in this video:
The problem with 1:1 coaching
It took us years to move from 1:1 coaching to group coaching.
We were finding that managing clients was dominating all of our time…
Which meant that the people at the back of the queue received the worst service.
And making sure we had time for all of our clients meant that we were sacrificing more and more of our free time.
But we’ve gone from that, to getting testimonials from very happy clients we’ve never had any personal contact with.
So how does it all fit together?
So what does a successful business model look like in practice?
- Start by building the 14-day sequence.
- You then get 20 to 50 leads using free methods first so.
- This helps you validate your offer.
- You can then sell tester spaces on a beta program at 50% off.
- This will help you build the ideal program for them.
- You can use the feedback to relaunch the 14-day challenge with ads.
This approach also allows you to sell first to generate cash up-front.
And you can also be sure that the offer actually works.
This is a much more reliable way to generate sales than spending hours building up to a big launch that may or may not flop.
Because it allows you to create the exact sort of thing your clients want.
And reinvest the cash you make into scaling.
Why you can’t rely on word-of-mouth
The problem with word-of-mouth is that once you’ve posted to the 2% of people who are going to buy from your audience, you’re just posting to the same people.
And you’re not going to convince any more of them to buy.
With ads, there’s a growing pool of people you can target.
We’ve heard plenty of people say that they’ve tried ads and they don’t work.
But you can’t just press “Boost Post” and expect sales to start flooding in.
If you’ve got a post that isn’t converting organically, throwing £100k of ad spend behind it isn’t going to do anything.
You need to use ads in a very targeted way.
Read more about how to do this in this article or watch the video below:
So, how can we help you?
There’s no quick way to navigate through this process.
You can get there on your own if you follow the steps we’ve run you through here, and implement the model correctly.
But we can offer a blueprint that we wish had been there when we started out.
Because it would have saved us years of headache, not to mention a fortune in ad spend, if we’d had someone to walk us through it all
If you’d like to have a chat with us about how we might be able to help, you can book a slot here:
This isn’t just a sales call – it’s a chance for you to tell us about your plans for your online business and whether we’d be a good fit for you.
Of if you’re not quite ready and would like to know more about how we grew our online business, you can also take a look at this free online training video.