And I’m not just talking about group Zooms. We tried that. We didn’t have another choice – gyms were shut, studios were closed, and we all were figuring out how to teach from our living rooms (without murdering our plants or tearing down the curtains.)
And hey, it served a purpose. It helped us get through the pandemic. And for some, it’s still working well.
But for others of us, trying to efficiently coach a bunch of small moving squares is more excruciating than surviving without caffiene. It’s not a vibe.
I one thousand percent believe that in-person teaching will always be the piece de resistance. There’s really nothing that can compare.
But in order to connect and teach people living beyond a 5 mile radius – online is the way forward. Because maybe it’s not about changing with the times, but more adapting with them. Maybe it’s not about losing connection – but actually strengthening it by finding modern ways to appreciate ancient disciplines.
Anyway. If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toes online, or you want to expand your online offerings but you want more options besides just group online lives – here’s my top 6.
This is probably the most popular type of online coaching – and for good reason. It’s the only way that you can work with your clients in real time – watching their progress, talking through their struggles, giving them targeted feedback to improve.
Many of my clients who see me online do so not because they don’t know how to train themselves – but because they need someone who’s going to hold them accountable. It’s the highest form of personalisation – literally, I’m coaching them minute by minute. There’s nowhere to hide here 🙂
There’s 2 factors that you need to consider with this one, so that you don’t get burnout and start
Because it’s real time, you’ll have to be on call at times that suit your clients – and if you’re working with clients in different time zones, it can get messy VERY fast. Also, you’ll be limited to the times that your niche is free – say, if you’re working with mums, you’ll probably have zero clients able to train between 7.30 and 9 because they’re all at school, dropping off their kids. So make sure you take that into account as you plan to open up slots for your clients.
If you know specifically the kind of result you’re working towards, it will give you the energy to show up online for each session. If there’s no bigger goal, it becomes draining for you and de-motivating for them. I like doing quarterly check-ins with my clients, to make sure they feel they’re being supported and that we’re on the same wavelength with our shared goals (me when I’m programming, them when they’re training.)
Typically, this is the one for PTs and fitness coaches – but it doesn’t have to be. It involves a pre-written program (bespoke to client goals) – and it’s usually hosted on a platform like TrueCoach or Trainerize.
This is a great way to start expanding from trading time for money to being paid for your expertise– because once you’ve written the program, your client is responsible for following it – and then through your followup calls or feedback loops you can tweak the program to support them more.
You can also create your own platform – for example, I did mine on Uscreen with a healthy helping of Google Drive Sheets – and I programmed clients with mobility, yoga and bodyweight strength drills. Full disclosure – this took me a solid chunk of time to set up – because I had to film myself doing each of the drills (most of them don’t exist on fitness apps). However, once I had that library of exercises and yoga drills in place, I could mix and match them to create programs that were bespoke to each client – and it also meant that the clients could use them as a resource if they ever wanted to check their form or remember an anatomy cue.
Memberships also had a moment – I think it was mid-pandemic: and everyone and their grandma was creating one. It’s still a pretty popular model, and I think it can be amazing to create a community and build revenue on repeat.
Something that most business coaches don’t talk about though is that building a membership platform takes more time and consistency than you’d expect. You have to be willing to be putting out content, regularly – and you need to have a setup which means you can record consistently and cost-effectively.
I’ve seen coaches pull out all the sexy numbers with how much you could be making on online memberships: and it’s true, the potential is all there. But there needs to be more awareness on how much work you’re going to have to invest – not just at the beginning, but consistently, every month, for quite awhile, before the numbers start adding up. It’s an incremental game – and it can be a GREAT one, but you’re going to have to be honest with yourself: are you willing to stick it out for the long haul?
For me, that answer was actually no. I’m the kind of girl that is either tearing down the street or lying horizontal. I work in sprints – in seasons. And when I was honest with myself, I realised that my best work was built when I had a specific time frame and end goal in sight: i.e. an 8 part Journey into Mandala Yoga, or a 2 month immersion in Branding for Coaches.
If you do want to create your own membership, I would say the minimum commitment you can need is 12 months, including at least 3-6 months of starter content before you launch. People need a good chunk of resources from the start, especially if they join in the first month. I also highly, highly recommend you build in some kind of community factor, so it’s not just a one way conversation with you and your students. Give your members a way to get to know each other, to build an online support network, to find friends to work alongside with.
One model I’ve seen work really well is when several teachers band together to create a membership – that way, the workload gets spread across several creators, and they’re also able to collectively pool their audiences that can translate into customers.
If there is one prediction I would make for online learning – it would be that online courses will take over as the number 1 learning platform. There are BILLIONS of dollars being earned and spent on online education right now. This is the Era of Knowledge. There are no gatekeepers blocking the way to specific skills anymore. You can learn acting, calligraphy, pasta-making or Facebook Ads all from the convenience of your couch.
And you can also share your skills in the same way. You can wrap together a course on the 7 breathing techniques that save you from stress. You can film and market a course specifically on mobility drills for olympic lifting. You can teach your own blend of yoga/pilates/barre and take people on a journey into moving in your signature way.
Courses online are either evergreen (as in, they can be bought anytime) or open-close launch (as in, there are specific windows of time in which the course can be bought.) Depending on the platform you choose (Kajabi, Thinkific and Teachable are my top recommendations) – you may also be able to interweave both strategies for the same course.
A little less pressure, a lot more accessible. Workshops are the perfect way to dip your toe in with the online space. Maybe it’s a 60 minute workshop on cleaning up your handstand line; maybe it’s an in-depth look at diastasis recti and how to rehab it.
You can host workshops on the same platforms as courses (Kajabi, Thinkific, or Teachable) – or you can also host them on video platforms like Uscreen or Vimeo. Some teachers I know host them on Youtube and make the link private so that only those who purchase the workshop have access.
In the same way that you would use a gym or studio space and coach a session there – you can also go into a virtual space and coach from there. Just like any membership, wellness platforms need to be fed consistent content – and your content might be perfectly aligned with what the platform already does. You also get visibility by the platform’s whole audience – and you don’t have to pay all the setup fees for building and maintaining your own platform (take it from me, the costs add up!)
If you want to go down this route, make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to teach on the platform – your style, your methodology, and a breakdown of your proposed course. Include video snippets of work as well that represent the best version of your teaching – and like any collab, make sure you check the T&C’s about ownership of content so that there are no surprises later.
HMU with your thoughts – do you use any of these ways online? Which ones serve you best, and which ones do you want more info + tips about?