Can You DIY Your Online Coaching Business?

April 30, 2020

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-entrepreneur and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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If you’re at the beginning of your business-building journey, you might have jumped on Google or YouTube to try to find the information you need to launch your coaching business. And you’ve thought, okay, I’m just going to try to do this myself, and see if I can get it going with a DIY approach.

So the question is: is this a good idea? Can you DIY your coaching business and get it started this way? Will it work?

Well, it might.

In some cases, and for certain people, a DIY approach is a good way to go. For other people, this is a setup for disappointment, frustration, and failure (in which case — you really do need a mentor, coach, or business-building program to get off the ground). 

But not everybody needs that. So how do you know whether you can attempt the DIY approach, or whether you’re someone who needs more expert help?

Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to unpack in today’s post (and podcast episode).

So let’s dive in!

By the way, if you’d rather listen than read, here’s where you can tune in to this episode:

Now, many people are interested in starting an online coaching business. There are lots of advantages, to be sure!

It’s one of those professions that is highly paid and also allows you to have a deep sense of meaning and excitement about the work you do every day. Not only that, coaching is something you can do from home, or you do it while you’re traveling, so you can take your business with you. Freedom and flexibility!

So when you’re starting a side hustle like this, the natural approach is to try to DIY. And that might work for you. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it might work for you.

Today I have FIVE factors for you to consider to help you decide whether the DIY approach is good idea for you.

Starting with: your ability to cut through the noise and find the RIGHT information for you.

Factor #1: Can You Separate Out The Truth From The Hype Online?

Obviously, there is a lot of information online. Which is great, but also…not so great. There’s too much information. And most of it is conflicting. And I’ve seen studies that have reported that over 60% of Americans find it at least somewhat difficult to know if the information they find online is actually trustworthy. 

So that’s the first thing to know about yourself. What are your critical appraisal skills like? Are you good at being able to tell if information you’re reading, like the free stuff in forums and blogs and things, can you discern whether it’s good quality and accurate information? 

Because, as I’m sure you know, just because it’s online, doesn’t mean it’s true.

So that’s question #1 to ask yourself: are you able to separate out the truth from the hype online?

Factor #2: How long can you comfortably wait before your business needs to be profitable?

Next question to ask yourself is how good are you with managing your time? And, related, how much time do you have available to work on this and figure everything out from scratch?

Because figuring everything out and DIYing things will definitely take more time. And if you’re okay with that, if you do the math and think–yes, I’m good with that, I would rather take the slower approach, like over the course of a couple of years or more, and do it myself, then that’s what you should do. 

Obviously I’m contrasting this to the approach where you don’t try to do DIY but that you get help instead. The opposite of the DIY approach, of course, is hiring a mentor or a coach or joining a program that will show you how to build your business, and will take you through the process. And that’s what I’m contrasting to, here.

So in terms of the time expected to build the business and get success and then start turning a consistent profit, it will definitely take more time in terms of the DIY approach, but you just need to be honest with yourself about whether that’s okay or not. Along the same lines, when it comes to time, when you’re DIYing it, you can spend a LOT of time, on a daily or weekly basis. 

So with DIY, you need to ask yourself how long can you hang in there with your current situation? Like, your job, your circumstances. Getting out of a job will take much longer with the DIY approach, but if you’re not unhappy where you are, then that may be just fine. 

I remember when I started my coaching business I hardly earned any money for the first 2 years. And I was working a LOT. Like 10-12 hour days. I was working full time as a physician, plus taking care of two young boys and running a household, and trying to stay healthy myself, and grow this business on the side. And I really thought I could do everything myself, figure it all out.

But I was headed straight for burnout — again. And I had already been at burnout, in my medical career! I was stubborn, and my health took a toll, and I know I neglected my family a bit during this time…until I realized I was no hero, and I couldn’t do everything myself, so why was I trying?

One of the reasons I went into coaching and being an entrepreneur was to have more freedom and more work-life balance. But what I was doing to myself was cutting all my free time down to nearly nothing, sacrificing sleep which was a bad idea, and heading for burnout.

So for me, I realized that that didn’t make sense for me. But again, you have to figure out what makes sense for you.

Factor #3: How Resilient Are You?

The next question to ask yourself honestly is: how much stamina and resilience do you have when it comes to trial and error, or failures. Because although there is plenty of this to be expected anytime you are building a business from scratch, there will almost undoubtedly be more of it when you are DIYing it. 

You’ll try things that, to be honest, have no basis, because you’re kind of reinventing the wheel, but it will become obvious to you that it’s not going to work after a while, hopefully not too long, and then you’ll try something else. Some people are highly resilient, and they don’t get too discouraged, and just keep pivoting and trying new things. They take a scientific approach, and keep experimenting, and then keep going. It’s almost fun for them. Which is fine. It’s definitely the mindset you need if you’re going to go the DIY route. 

The danger here, potentially, is getting so frustrated and discouraged that you ultimately give up. Truth is, most people give up just before they were about to have their breakthrough, which is tragic, but you have to know yourself. If you can keep yourself from getting discouraged, and stay motivated, then you could perhaps DIY it. But the other way, getting help and mentorship, will mean that you will shortcut all that trial and error, because you’ll be investing in a proven system. But again, you have to know yourself and decide for yourself which works best for you. 

Factor #4: How Much Accountability Do You Need?

What are your work habits like? 

How much accountability do you need to keep you moving forward? 

If you are driven and a self-starter, and have really great self-accountability, then you may be a good candidate to DIY your business. If you routinely set tasks for yourself, stay out of distraction, stay out of shiny-object syndrome, and stay the course, then you may be able to DIY. But if you get easily distracted, or stalled, or flip over to the latest shiny object, then the DIY route will be frustrating for you. 

Another thing to ask is: How overwhelmed do you tend to get when facing a big project? Building a business is a BIG project, no doubt. So if you can keep your blinders on and just take it one piece at a time, then DIY may work for you. In contrast, when you join a program or get a coach, ideally, if the program is set up well and the coach knows what she’s doing, you’ll go one logical step at a time, specifically to keep you out of overwhelm. That’s something I definitely do with my clients –I insist on it. I’m always telling them to not get ahead of themselves, because that’s a set up for overwhelm. One logical step, one bite at a time. How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time. But, again, if that is not your issue, then DIY could work for you. 

Factor #5: What Are Your Financial Issues?

Let’s look at DIY from a financial perspective. It can certainly, on first blush, seem like the cheaper way to go. You’re kind of bootstrapping it, right? It’s cheaper to figure things out and use free or low cost resources, rather than investing in a premium program, say, like spending 5 or $10K and hiring a coach to get things off the ground for you. And so if you literally have no money that you can tap into, like no room in a line of credit, no savings, no nothing, then yes, obviously, you’ll have no choice but to bootstrap and DIY. However, when you do get help, like when you pay for mentorship or a business-building program, yes you have to pay for the program upfront but then you get to the RETURN stage much, much faster. Meaning, you will start to hit the $5K per month or $10K per month stage much more quickly — maybe even within 6 months — which will certainly recoup your investment and get you free of your JOB or whatever circumstances you’re trapped in right now. So in many circumstances it CAN be a false economy to DIY things, because you will be leaving money on the table. 

You really want to think about all the money you’re leaving on the table by not investing in guidance and mentorship or coaching to help you get your business off the ground and profitable so much faster. 

As I said earlier, I made very little money in my business for almost two years before I realized I needed to invest and really get my business to the stage I needed it to be, and I don’t want you to be waiting that long. UNLESS you’re okay to wait. Again, you have to know yourself.

So the question to ask yourself here is a bit twofold: HOW desperate or keen are you to change your financial circumstances asap, which will mean investing some money upfront versus if you’re not super desperate to get out of your day job or get moving in this new direction, and you’re okay to take the longer, more scenic route perhaps, certainly the more winding path, but you’re fine to do that if it means not spending money on it, because you don’t NEED your business to be profitable quickly.


Okay, so there you have it, 5 factors to take into consideration when trying to decide if you’re the kind of person who can successfully DIY your coaching business, or if you would be better off getting help or support. Let me just recap:

Factor 1: How well can you cut through the noise and the information and separate out truth from hype?

Factor 2: How much free time do you have available to work on your business, and how long can you comfortably wait before your business needs to be profitable?

Factor 3: How much resilience do you have to failure and setbacks, and how likely are you to get discouraged — or would you prefer to have a proven system?

Factor 4: How much accountability do you need when getting things done, and how overwhelmed do you get when facing big projects?

Factor 5: What are your financial issues? As in: do you have the capacity to invest some money upfront, even though it can feel scary, but the truth is, what happens for most people is that they will end up getting them a return much quicker, and not leaving a lot of money on the table, so getting you to hit those income goals in a much earlier timeframe.

Okay, and there you have it!

So tell me: where do you stand with the DIY issue? Are you a good candidate for a DIY approach? 

Or, when you do an honest reckoning, do you realize that you actually do need support and help with building your business and getting it off the ground?

If you’re a DIYer, if that’s you, and there are many of you, for sure, then I wish you so much success. Truly, all the power to you! It can be a tough slog, but if you’re determined to make it work, I wish you all the best success!

Now, if you’re in the latter camp, and you realize that you need help and support, then I have something that may work for you, and may be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s my flagship group program, Business Academy for Coaches, and I am officially launching it tomorrow. Doors are open, and ready for enrollment, I’ll be announcing it inside my challenge group tomorrow, on day 5, but if you want to check it out now, I definitely invite you to do so.

I’m so excited to be running this group again, with a lot of new content and really great stuff.

And if you are keen to build your coaching business and take the most direct route to success, then I would love to have you inside the group.

Head over here to read about all the details, and either enroll or book a call to chat with me personally about whether this program is a good fit for you.

I should also mention that early-bird pricing is in effect, until May 15th, and that spaces are limited (this will be a small, intimate group).

Resources & Links:

Come chat to me on Instagram or Facebook and let me know what stage you’re at in your coaching business—let’s have a conversation!

LET’S HOP ON A CONSULTATION CALL! LEARN MORE HERE: https://drkimfoster.com/consultation

N.B. some links are affiliate links.

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