Everyone is an expert at something. It may be cooking or starting a business or even how to dress professionally. Regardless of your education and professional background, chances are good you have some valuable knowledge to share with others. Knowledge someone may even be willing to pay for!
Today we are sitting down with Tony Stubblebine. Tony founded Coach.me on the idea that coaching is the secret weapon of elite performers. Coach.me is a marketplace of the world’s best coaches, matching people to the right coach for their top ambition. And today is the first day they are again open to new coach applications!
What was your motivation to start Coach.me?
I remember reading this book, Talent is Overrated, that was debunking the idea of innate genius. There’s one moment in the book that talks about Mozart, someone who is widely considered to have been a young music prodigy. But his dad was a music teacher. That was a huge part of his backstory. He wasn’t born a genius — his dad taught him (we would say coached him).
Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with the backstory behind success. I wanted to know about every successful person, regardless of their field. I grew up a sports fan, but I was just as captivated by Project Runway, a reality TV show based on a fashion design competition.
You’d wish that success was just a matter of hard work. But the completely unfair reality is that so much of success is based on the types of training and experiences you have.
I wanted to address that core unfairness — at first just for myself. I wondered how I could achieve more of my own goals.
I’ve been working in technology forever, and the thing that technology is really good at is distribution. The world’s best coach for starting a home business is working out of her home in some unknown corner of the world. Only her neighbors know about her or can talk to her.
But we’ve solved that problem by moving coaching online. That’s the goal behind Coach.me. We want to gather all the expertise in the world in one place and then deliver that expertise to anyone who needs it in the form of personal coaching.
What categories or topics does the site cover?
We’re collecting the best coaches in the world, no matter what their specialty. That means we have coaching that ranges from business to addiction to diet to habit-building.
The number one topic that people want coaching in is business. How do you build a business or grow a career?
The number two topic is diet. The great thing about our diet coaches is that they are all specialized around very specific diets. So if you want to go Paleo, we have Paleo coaches. If you want to go Slow-Carb, then we have Slow-Carb coaches. It always bothered me that so many diet coaches in the world were offering generic nutrition advice when most of us have really specific diets in mind.
What are the requirements to become a coach? What’s the application process?
I think many of your readers might make fantastic coaches. So, let me tell you some of the history behind where our coaching came from.
In our original coaching experiments, we offered a mix of experienced professional coaches along with experienced subject-matter experts. It turns out that the subject-matter experts outperformed the professional coaches.
And now many of those subject-matter experts are continuing to rely on coaching as an important side business making thousands of extra dollars each month.
That’s why I have such faith in the Work At Home Wife readers. Many of your readers are developing expertise as entrepreneurs and marketers.
And coaching is a great business for people that work at home. It’s flexible and you can set your own hours.
So, if people want to try becoming a coach, we’ve just opened up our platform to everyone (it used to be just open to coaches we’d recruited).
The steps are fairly straightforward.
#1. We ask that you go through our free certification training. This is the first certification ever for digital coaching and it’s based on the lessons we learned with our original coaches.
#2. Set up a profile. You can think of this as a digital shingle where you can advertise that you’re open for business.
#3. Recruit four people to be your clients. We don’t require that these be paying clients, but we do require that every coach we feature has a track record and has coached at least four people.
The link to start all three steps is: coach.me/apply
How much can coaches expect to earn? When and how are payments made?
The range for a serious coach who is relying on us for customers is a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month.
We once had a coach generate $7,000 of revenue in 24 hours. To do that, you also have to be focused on marketing. This particular coach had already built a mailing list of 500 motivated fans who wanted to try whatever he recommended.
We do a revenue split with our coaches which is normally 50% to the coach with another 20% if they referred the client. We pay out monthly via check or PayPal.
We also run an affiliate program. The 20% referral bonus works even if you’re promoting another coach.
We do try to help coaches plan out their desired revenue. We have three ways for coaches to sell their services:
#1. Our basic coaching service is $14.99/week. This is short, chat-based daily coaching. Many coaches can handle 50 or more clients per week. This is how most of our coaches work.
#2. Our most expert coaches also offer phone calls for as much as $500/hour. Obviously, you need to develop a valuable specialization to make this work. But it’s the easiest way to list yourself in our coaching directory.
#3. Coaches who have their own audience and who are strong writers often build training plans. I don’t love the term “info product,” but that’s essentially what these are. If you can convert your advice into actionable steps (like a Couch to 5K training plan), then you can put a price on that and sell it. We look for plans that are already selling well and then try to boost them through a cross-promotion.
What’s the typical coaching transaction like?
In our Digital Coaching Certification program, we focus on something we call the Momentum Framework. This is the big innovation that coaches need to adopt in order to be successful online.
Offline, when you are talking face-to-face, you have a full hour to get to know your client. But digital coaching has to work differently (and our research backs this up).
In the Momentum Framework, you focus first on building a consistent habit. That consistent habit then becomes something that you and the client can talk about each day and learn how to grow, overcome obstacles, etc.
Essentially, digital coaching flips your coaching discussions from once a week for an hour, to once per day for a minute. The client’s daily activity is what makes that daily conversation make sense.
So, how to make that more concrete. In our business coaching, clients come in picking from a menu of leadership areas. One popular area is Doing Higher Priority Work.
The first thing our coaches do is help them build the habit of setting priorities for their day.
Then, once that habit is started, the coach and client have a very easy and natural conversation about what the top priority is, what challenges might prevent completion, and eventually, the much larger question: why is that your top priority?
Over time, that habit paired with regular discussion can turn an employee into an entrepreneurial leader within their company. But it all starts with the habit.
What tips do you have for new coaches?
The biggest “a-ha” realization for new coaches has been that their job is *not* to tell the client exactly what to do. It’s a common misconception that the coach is being hired to be the boss and give directions. Coaching is much more successful as a collaboration, with the coach as a strong listener. Appreciative inquiry is also key — for example, “I see this pattern. How can we address this?” Often, the client knows the best answer and just needs guidance and support to find it.
After seeing hundreds of coaching relationships fall apart because of a coach failing to practice strong listening skills, I’ve really started to re-evaluate my own active listening abilities. This is an important takeaway for every part of your life.
Are you ready to become an online coach? Visit coach.me to learn more and start your application today.