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How to Succeed as a Career Coach
Today, we are diving into how to succeed as a career coach. There is a lot of noise online these days and it seems like there are a ton of career coaches out there right? It might seem a little overwhelming. I started my career as a career coach and for the past 6 years have learned a lot and witnessed a lot of changes in the industry.
I gathered some of the top questions about how to succeed as a career coach on the podcast today. If you have ever thought of becoming a career coach or want to grow your career coaching business even more, you will love this episode. Let’s dive in!
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There is no specific background required to become a career coach. In fact, anyone can claim to be one! So how do you stand out as a true career coach from those just claiming to be career coaches? Simple. Do they have related experiences in the field they are coaching on? What were the results of those experiences? Did they receive amazing feedback? Were they able to build credibility among those they know?
In other words, in order to become a career coach, you do not need to finish a 4-5 years course in career coaching (although that would be a big plus). You just need to build your reputation as one.
Here’s how Psych Central defined career coaching:
“Career coaching is a great way to get personal help with establishing your professional goals, making career decisions, creating and executing plans, and overcoming obstacles that may come in your way.” – Tracy Brisson (Founder and CEO of ‘The Opportunities Project’).
At Classy Career Girl, career coaching is a way of helping people land jobs that they love or start businesses that are in line with their passions. That’s why integrating modern career coaching strategies are vital to being an effective coach.
So how does one start building a career coach business? Here are a few tips from Anna Runyan, the Founder and CEO of Classy Career Girl, from our podcast interview today:

Do you think career coaching is still a profitable business or slowly dying?

As long as people need jobs, they need help finding jobs. There are many things that a career coach can help with such as figuring out what career is best for you, resume, LinkedIn and interviewing. I would find your specialty and focus in on that. There are also different industries that you can focus on as well. Are you an expert at tech, startups or creative industries?
I think what set me apart is really focusing in on the what is your calling piece and WHAT IS your ideal career fit. I felt like that is what is missing from most coaches and trainings. The first step. You don’t just start an online job search or updating your resume. Most people that come to work with me have no idea that 80% of jobs are found through networking and they hate updating their resume.
There are people unhappy in their jobs everywhere so career coaching is not disappearing at all. With today’s online world, and new career opportunities available to us, it’s only growing. People need a guide and a mentor. I think today’s millennials are more focused than ever on making a difference and an impact. There is so much that you can do to make this happen and you doing it first helps you become that role model.
I just heard this quote from Simon Sinek author of Start With Why. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
If you can bring your why into your business and what you do and what you believe, those people who believe the same things will want to work with you.
Do you find more success with people wanting career coaching or business coaching? I fear that not many people care about career coaching?
There are the exact same number of members in Love Your Career Formula and Corporate Rescue Plan. My mission is to help women find jobs they love or start businesses they love. It doesn’t matter to me which one they want to do, the same strategies apply in starting the right business for you. I don’t want you to start and grow a business you hate.
My favorite client case studies are when a woman starts Love Your Career Formula and ends up in Corporate Rescue Plan later because she realizes that she wants to start a business! 🙂 That’s when I know I am doing the right thing.
This is an interesting question because I only added business coaching as my market kept telling me they wanted it. That’s the most important thing, what does your market want and need. What are they asking you for advice on?
I have the exact same people in my business coaching programs as I do my career coaching programs which is astonishing. I keep waiting for one to grow faster but each time at I look at the numbers, they are exactly the same. So there’s a need for both BUT the market for business coaching right now is oversaturated with so many people saying they are gurus on social media and making six figures in 1 month promises….
I have another mentor Ryan Deiss and what he says is that when things that overpopulated and noisy online like they are right now, you have to whisper to stand out. That’s the model I follow. I like to whisper instead of raise my hands up and down. I think you’ll find me and CCG around a lot longer than many of these other business coaches. I am building a brand and not just positioning myself for income right now and that’s what makes me different.
Note: If you have never built a successful business before, please don’t become a business coach. I think this is where it’s really important that you model what you teach. For me, CCG is a business where we make money in many different areas besides business coaching and have many different streams of income coming in. Most business coaches have one income model and that is business coaching which I don’t think is always an honest way of doing business. 

How did find success in career coaching?  How did/do you find and connect with your clients? 

My consistent success came from:
  • Webinars to strategy sessions to individual coaching
  • A 5-week online course to strategy sessions to individual coaching
  • A live event to a 5-week online course to strategy sessions to individual coaching
Eventually, my strategy switched to a 90-day group coaching program and then into a membership site.
Note: I also tried a membership in 2012-2013 and interviewed over 50 career experts and authors in The Get Ahead Club. I learned a ton and made a ton of connections but had to quit this since it wasn’t a profitable business model at that time. Yes, I failed. But, I learned a lot so when I launched two membership sites in 2016, I knew what not to do.
I tried a lot of things until something worked. Then, I did it over and over again. This is key.
I found success through messaging people on LinkedIn. Finding people in groups and sending them an invite to an event or to a strategy session. You have to build the relationship first though so maybe a helpful article. LinkedIn has A LOT of people who have “job searching’ in their keywords!
Many of my clients have had success with FB groups. Most of days of the week (Wed for my Love Your Work and Life Ladies Facebook group) where you can promote yourself and your business. A girl in my mastermind just told me she got 6 new strategy session from doing this. This isn’t my #1 method though because I like to do things repeatably.
Don’t overlook FB ads. This is so much easier than when I started years ago. You can target so much easier than I could and really stand out. How many career coaches do you see advertising on Facebook? I have seen TWO and one of them is me.
Another thing we are testing is Pinterest ads. How many career coaches have you seen advertise on Pinterest? I have seen one and that one is me. 🙂
You have to use automation to get people into those free sessions with you. I learned this when I set up maternity leave and for two months had people filling out an application to work with me and watching a training video. When I came back from maternity leave I had over 60 people waiting to speak with me.
If I was starting all over today, I would do a Facebook ad to a training video with great valuable content. Below the training video I would have a button to fill out an application to speak with me.
You don’t need a website but I would suggest a leadpages account for the optin page and button. The application can be done for free using wufoo.com or surveymonkey.com. Then, you can get started with $5-$10 per day in ads.
Note: The link above is my affilate link. I only recommend what I use on a daily basis.

I know you mentioned that your #1 tip is get on the news through a charity.   How exactly do you work in that conversation without seeming self-motivated?

Congrats! I would let them know that you would love to be a spokesperson for them if they ever need someone to share about what they do. This would be AFTER the speaking event so they can see how great you are. You can mention that you have a “colleague” (me) who goes on the San Diego news and shares about the events that Dress For Success is sponsoring with some special career tips too. It does great and the news stations love it. You can send them the link of the one I did too.

Do you think it is ok to charge premium pricing for career coaching?  How you found success doing this?  I think this is tricky and always will be. My prices when I started.

1. I coached my roommate. She was the worst client ever and didn’t do any of the homework I gave her. But I created a system and a 12-week plan out of that experience. This was totally free.
2. Then, I launched a $97 course. It was my first one but testimonials were way more important for me.
3. Then, we went to a $200/month individual coaching package with WEEKLY calls. Very low prices I know but once again, I wanted SUCCESS stories, I wanted to learn how to coach and sell and I wanted to get my system down.
4. Eventually, I raised my individual coaching prices and created a group coaching weekly Q&A 90-day program for $500 in full or $200/month. As soon as you can get recurring income in, do it! Do it yesterday!
5. When I did strategy sessions, I could offer three different options. If they didn’t want a VIP day with me ($1,000-$2,000 when I started), then I could offer my group program ($500 or $200/month) and if they didn’t want those, they could buy my online course ($97-$197).

Did you gain a lot of traffic from being a coach and writer on The Muse? What about LEVO? 

Writing for The Muse and Levo was great to build my brand recognition and grow my website. I still write for the Muse and Levo occasionally but have my hands full managing the writers and content for my own website which is growing fast and quickly gaining the momentum of those two sites. I do coach on the Muse though and that has provided some clients. If you can get hired as a coach on The Muse, go for it. It doesn’t hurt to have clients from them but don’t expect it to support you!! I wouldn’t apply unless you have experience coaching.

What advice do you have in order to have success as a career coach?

1. You need a system. My Get Unstuck System turned into my Love Your Career Formula. It’s always improving but start with something.
2. Don’t be afraid to start free like I did my roommate. Then, very low cost. The key is to get sales and success stories, you can always increase pricing.
3. No one talks about this! Decide if you want to build a BRAND or if you want to build YOU. Do you want to build a big company and create a brand that has coaches under you OR do you want to build the brand of you? Do you want to be a CEO or a coach long term?
4. It’s a numbers game. Book as many strategy sessions as you can. Make an offer and some of them will convert. Talk to people. Get to know their frustrations. Sell, sell, sell. Help, help, help.

Quick Steps to Take Now:

1. Start by figuring out who you enjoy working with – do you prefer middle-aged audience? Do you care more about the youth starting out their careers right after college? Maybe you are passionate about being a career coach for people in their 40s or 50s transitioning?
2. Change how you’re teaching. As a career coach, you need to understand how social media affects job searching and how to use the different platforms to help your clients find their dream jobs/careers.
3. Be ready to comply with a lot of people’s requirements. Get to know them and understand what works and what does not work with each of them.
4. Offer free coaching to people at the end of webinars. The more you talk to people, the more you understand their needs.
5. Launch a paid course and provide free coaching session as “bonus”. This will be to learn how you can help them even more after the course is over and lead them into individual coaching or your next upsell.
6. Conduct group coaching or create a group program, especially if you are limited on time. Do this before you are ready with a small amount of people and keep running it.
7. Start making free videos with signup buttons or call to actions at the bottom to free strategy sessions.
8. Leverage networking events and utilize LinkedIn’s professional network. Sending messages to people on LinkedIn is a great strategy.
9. Facebook groups are great places to network.
10. Book speaking events for free where people can see and hear you speak. Offer free strategy sessions at the end.
11. Gather testimonials and success stories before focusing on generating cash. Remember that cash will come later once you’ve built your credibility.
12. Start with a low price then you can build up as you gain traction.
13. Start guest posting on other websites that have similar goals to yours.
14. Stop listening to the noise around you and focus on what you’re good at.
15. Interview your clients over and over again. Take notes. Use their words on your website. Know what they are thinking 24/7.
Related Post: How to Choose a Career Coach

Hi, I'm Anna!

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