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How to Get Your First Coaching Clients Fast (14 Proven Strategies)

How do you get coaching clients online?

If you want to get your first paying coaching clients, this is for you.

Today, you’ll learn the 14 best strategies successful coaches use to attract coaching clients. You’ll also get my 15-minute strategy for getting your first paying clients – even if you’re in a busy day job.

Want to learn more?

Here’s how to get coaching clients:

1. Get interviewed on podcasts

2. Build relationships in online groups

3. Get featured in media

4. Use paid advertising

5. Use SEO

6. Create a YouTube channel

7. Use LinkedIn

8. Write guest posts

9. Ask your network

10. Use Instagram

11. Use Pinterest

12. Build an email list

13. Ask for referrals

14. Use offline strategies

The 14 best strategies to find coaching clients

You know, finding your first paying coaching clients is easier than you might think. You just need to be strategic about your marketing.

If you try to juggle 100 different strategies to get clients, you’ll likely not get far.

In this post, I’ll share 14 strategies to use. The key is to choose ONE strategy to get your clients faster than you think.

Think about where your target audience hangs out online – that’s where you should be, too. For example, health coach clients might hang out on Instagram (where you can show your results visually), while career coaching clients are active on LinkedIn.

And if you keep on reading until the end, I share my 15-minute strategy to get your first paying clients. This is the strategy I used to build a six-figure coaching business in four months.

#1: Get on podcasts

Good for beginners: Yes!

First up:

Getting interviewed on podcasts is a great way to get your first coaching clients.

You see, there’s a podcast for nearly every topic or niche out there.

And by tapping into an audience someone has already built and nurtured, you’re taking the fast track to get clients.

After all, podcast hosts want to talk to you – with all your experience, you have something unique and valuable to offer.

Early on in my business, I was interviewed on the podcast “So Money” by Farnoosh Torabi. The podcast made a big difference for my new business.

So Money podcast image

However, you don’t have to get interviewed on industry-leading podcasts to attract your first clients.

Instead, pitch smaller podcasts with smaller, but engaged, audiences. You improve your chances of getting interviewed while getting in front of people who are really interested in what you have to say.

Wondering how to identify suitable podcasts? Try these Google search queries:

  • “Podcast” + “[your keyword]”
  • “Top podcasts (year)” + “[your keyword]”

Here’s a template to approach podcast hosts:


I’m [Your Name], and I [share something distinctive about yourself that highlights your suitability as a guest]. I’m eager to explore the possibility of being a guest on [podcast name]. Here are a few subjects I believe would resonate with your listeners:

  • [Topic suggestion 1]
  • [Topic suggestion 2]
  • [Topic suggestion 3]

Would these topics interest [podcast name]’s audience? I look forward to your feedback.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]”

Tailor the message to your style and the podcast’s tone, and you’re good to go!

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#2: Build relationships in online groups

Good for beginners: Yes!

When you’re starting out and you’re not as well known, online groups are one of the fastest ways to connect and build trust with your potential clients.

These are social media groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and industry-specific forums. And make no mistake: Your audience is on one of these platforms. 200 million people belong to meaningful Facebook groups.

For example, Ruby, a relationship coach, got her first client on Reddit.

Screenshot of Good gentleman website

These groups allow you to build your audience via direct, two-way engagement with your audience. In other words, instead of just talking at your audience the way you would do via an email list (where your subscribers don’t really have a way to engage with you), you’re talking with them via actual conversations.

Because of this, with online groups, you can build relationships in weeks that would take you months to do with email.

Here’s how to use them to get started and build an audience of potential clients:

You know how there are TONS of Facebook groups and Reddit threads? That good old search bar is all you need.

For example, if you search for “reddit” + “career” on Google, you’ll find an entire forum FULL of your ideal clients.

Screenshot of Reddit search

It’s the first search result!

Or, on Facebook, if you type in your industry term and navigate to the “Groups” tab, you’ll find the same as well. Here’s a screenshot of the results I get when I type in “Career.” The first group shown alone has almost 9,000 members in the group!

Facebook group search

Now that you know how to find these groups, let’s talk about what to do with them.

This is important because if you’re not careful, it can be easy to waste your precious time in groups on activities that don’t build your business.

Let me show you how to avoid this problem and turn these groups into a prospect-generating harvest:

When building relationships in groups, make sure to…

  • Choose groups where your ideal clients are active
  • Introduce yourself so they know who you are and how you can help them
  • Give value to them by engaging in conversations and posting insightful content
  • Showcase your expertise by answering people’s questions and giving helpful advice
  • Infotain – build trust while being interesting and entertaining
  • Engage as a person – be yourself so that people will relate to you as a person

Want my guide on what content you should share on social media? Here you go.

After following the above steps for just a few weeks, your audience will know you and be ready to hear about your offer.

And you what that means? It means that when you share your offer, you’ll actually make sales instead of getting crickets!

#3: Get media on HARO

Good for beginners: Yes!

Getting featured in the media can make a huge difference for your business.

Early on in my business, I was featured on websites like Forbes and that really helped me build my brand. My new coaching clients would often refer back to articles where I’d been featured.

Forbes article

But how do you get featured in the media as a completely new business owner?

HARO is a fantastic service – and it only takes 20 minutes a day.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a free newsletter service connecting journalists and bloggers with potential article sources. The newsletters are sent out three times a day with plenty of media opportunities or queries.

When a query aligns with your expertise, you can respond with a pitch. If your pitch is selected, you get featured in their publication.

The best part? It requires only around 20 minutes of your day. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Upon registering with HARO, you’ll receive media opportunities in your email several times daily.

  • 5 minutes/day: Quickly scan the media queries
  • 15 minutes/day: When a query piques your interest, craft and send your response

Good for beginners: No!

Paid advertising is one of the more scalable strategies on this list.

I personally used paid advertising to grow my business to seven figures in my first year.

Facebook video ad

But while paid ads work, I don’t recommend them before you have at least a few paying clients. So if you don’t have any clients yet, focus on the more beginner-friendly strategies.

However, if you are at the point where you want to scale, paid ads (such as Facebook or Google ads) can work well.

That said, paid advertising is much more sophisticated today than it was a few years ago. So you need to know your way around using ads before pouring money into them.

The steps to using them in the right way are:

Step 1: Create targeted ads

These days, you can’t use the same ad over and over. Instead, you need to tailor your ads to your audience and constantly rethink them.

For this, you need two things – first, enough time to keep on brainstorming new ad creatives (or a budget to hire a good, paid advertising agency to do it for you). And second, you need to understand your audience well enough.

Both of those take a lot of time and resources, which is why this strategy isn’t for completely new coaches.

Step 2: Create converting ads

You need to have the foundations in place to create great ads:

  • Know your audience
  • Write compelling copy
  • Create attention-grabbing visuals

If you have these elements in place, your ads will work for you.

Want to learn more about paid ads? Read my guide on Facebook ads for coaches.

Good for beginners: No!

SEO, search engine optimization, is all about optimizing your coaching website so that it appears in search engines like Google. When people find your website, they click through, and some of them buy from you.

So contrary to ads, you don’t pay for your traffic.

And the thing is: 53% of all trackable website traffic comes from search engines. So SEO is highly scalable and more profitable than most other marketing strategies.

I’ve used SEO to grow my own business sustainably.

Within the first six months, I started making more than I was investing in SEO.

And after two years, I was making multiple six-figures, a figure which continues to grow.

To get clients from SEO, you publish content on your blog and optimize your web pages.

You do this with the right keywords that your audience is looking for. So if you have a service page where you sell health coaching, you’d optimize that page for a keyword like “health coaching services.”

You also need to build website authority by building backlinks, links from external websites. They help Google trust your website and rank it.

Some of the easiest ways to build backlinks are to use HARO, pitch podcasts, and write guest posts. (So by following the steps in this post, you’ll get far!)

Want to learn more about using SEO to scale your business? Watch my tutorial or read my guide on SEO for coaches.

#6: Create a YouTube channel

Good for beginners: No!

Video is one of the most engaging marketing formats. In fact, 92% of video marketers say they’ve gotten a good ROI from video.

And I love YouTube! I’ve grown my own channel to a six-figure channel:

However, to be successful on the platform, you need to know how to script, record, and edit videos.

These days, YouTube is a highly competitive platform and you need good video quality to stand out. And most importantly, you need to know how to write scripts that keep people engaged.

Not to mention that it takes time to build your audience on YouTube – and get clients.

That’s why this isn’t the best strategy for new coaches.

Get at least a few paying clients before you start building your YouTube channel.

Some of the gear I recommend for YouTube are:

The Diva Ring Light – this ring light helps you improve lighting when recording your videos.

You need a good microphone, too. Rode SmartLav+ is a good option.

#7: Promote your business on LinkedIn

Good for beginners: Yes!

Are you a career coach?

Executive coach?

Then, LinkedIn could be the right place for you. Of course, the social media platform works for various types of coaches – essentially, everyone who offers their services to professionals.

For example, my students Emily and Anna, who are career coaches, found their first clients on LinkedIn.

Emily simply announced her new career coach side business on LinkedIn and quickly got a few paying clients.

Screenshot of Cultivitae website

Similarly, Anna used LinkedIn to get her first career coaching clients.

Screenshot of Anna Cosic's website

A few ways to use LinkedIn include:

Direct messages

LinkedIn is a networking platform. The more (of the right) people you have in your network, the higher your chances of getting clients.

A good way to grow your network is to connect with people directly on LinkedIn. But you need to genuinely want to connect with the people you reach out to – and return a good networking opportunity with you in return. Tailor your message to them and show them why you should connect.


LinkedIn posts help you get in front of people. A good way to start is to write a post about your new coaching practice.

However, your LinkedIn content needs to connect with people.

Make it fun and interesting to read your posts. Always think, for every post you publish: What is the purpose of this post?

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#8: Write guest posts

Good for beginners: Yes!

Think guest posting is “dead”?

Not so fast! Guest posting is still a good way to grow your business.

For example, my clients have grown their businesses after getting featured on sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and YFS.

However, you DO need to focus on high-quality, niche websites.

Those websites have already built engaged audiences who are interested in your services. With your guest post, you get in front of them.

One of my guest posts on Business Insider got a lot of traction – and sales. It resulted in five-figure sales in one week.

How do you find the right opportunities, though?

Write a list of 10 sites or podcasts you’d like to be featured on.

You can find them by googling:

“Contribute” + “your coaching niche”

“Submit guest post” + “your niche”

“Guest post” + “your niche”

Then, reach out to the website with this script:


My name is (your name) and I am (include something relevant about yourself). 

I’d love to submit a guest post to (name of publication). I researched topics that would do great on your site:

  • Topic suggestion 1
  • Topic suggestion 2
  • Topic suggestion 3

I’ve previously written guest posts for (include a few sites if you’ve previously written guest posts): 

  • Link to example 1
  • Link to example 2
  • Link to example 3

Let me know if these look interesting to (name of publication)? 



#9: Tap into your network

Good for beginners: Yes!

One of the best strategies for new coaches?

This! Use your network.

You see, you might already have clients in your network.

But you need to make them aware of your services.

Send them a quick message where you offer your services or ask for referrals.

You can send something like this:

“Hey NAME,

I’m starting a new business that helps people with…. 

If you know someone who would be interested in this, please let me know.

I’m happy to offer them a free coaching call so that they can get to know me and start getting some great results. If they’re interested, I’ll share more about how I can help them further, but if not, they’ll still get great value out of the free session.”

And just to clarify – this isn’t about making your friends feel pressured to buy from you.

For example, Emily and Anna, who we talked about above, posted about their services on LinkedIn. They let their networks know that they were starting a business – and got their first career coaching clients.

In fact, this is also how I got my first clients.

Before I started my current business, I sold career coaching.

I had already helped some of my coworkers by giving them free career advice.

So when I started my career coaching business, I reached out to them and let them know about my new services.

A few of them signed up – and I had a business!

#10: Market your business on Instagram

Good for beginners: Yes!

Instagram is a highly engaging platform. One in three Instagram users says that they are more interested in buying something after they’ve seen it in an Instagram story.

Instagram can work for all types of coaches. But if there are visual aspects you can show (such as health coaching before-and-after photos or recipes), Instagram can be a really powerful platform.

For example, Cristina, a health coach, found her first coaching client on Instagram.

I personally didn’t use Instagram when I first started my business. But I’ve since used it to sell my courses, which cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, to my $18,000+ mastermind coaching package.

I share stories and posts that cover business tips, as well as more personal aspects of my life. You can follow me here.

To get clients on Instagram, you need to use the different aspects of the platform:

  • Posts
  • Videos
  • Stories
  • Lives
  • Reels

Each of these content formats serves a purpose. For example, stories show more of the “behind-the-scenes”, while Lives let you engage with your audience in a more direct way.

I talk more about using Instagram in my Instagram guide and here:

#11: Get coaching clients on Pinterest

Good for beginners: No!

Next up:


You see, if you produce some type of content (blog posts, YouTube videos…), you can promote those on Pinterest.

This isn’t a small platform – 28% of people in the US use Pinterest. What’s more, people go to Pinterest to find inspiration, so they’re actively looking for good content.

And yes, Pinterest works for coaches, even if you’re not in a “visual” niche. I’ve used Pinterest to grow my own website traffic.

My niche isn’t “visual,” but my team designs pins that are:

Pinterest is, like Google, a more scalable strategy. Similarly, it takes a bit longer to build up.

That’s why I don’t recommend this strategy to brand-new coaches.

However, once you are at a place where you can scale your coaching business, Pinterest can be an effective (and relatively simple) strategy.

You see, you can create pins that link back to your blog posts. Pinterest then sends traffic to those pins.

What’s more, Pinterest can be automated. If you use a tool like Tailwind, you can schedule pins once a month and they are then published throughout the month without you having to go into Pinterest and manually publish them.

#12: Use email marketing

Good for beginners: No!

Early on, you’ll get clients by building relationships with them directly.

But as you build your business, it becomes harder to spend time building those one-on-one relationships.

And that’s where email marketing comes in.

You see, if you only rely on building a following on social media, you end up building an audience you don’t really own.

But your email list is yours.

And it helps you scale relationships so that every time you write an email, you send it to all your subscribers. Way faster than individually DM:ing your followers.

However, while you don’t need a massive email list to get clients, it does take time to build one.

That’s why this isn’t the strategy you should start out with.

But once you start building your email list, you can use these strategies to build it:

  • Podcast interviews
  • Guest posts
  • Paid ads
  • SEO

#13: Ask for referrals

Good for beginners: Yes!

Why do people buy from you?

They need to trust you.

And that’s why referrals are a great way to grow your business. If someone has heard good things about you from someone they know, they are much more likely to sign up for your coaching.

Now, you could get referrals from family and friends.

But once you’ve worked with a few clients, they can refer clients to you – which can help you get a lot more clients for every client you find.

However, you need to be proactive about asking for referrals. People are busy and don’t always think about making those connections.

Send an email that doesn’t sound pushy or needy. A good idea is to offer a commission to incentivize referrals. 10% is standard for services.

You can send them a script like this one:

Hi [Name],

I hope you’re doing well!

I’m reaching out because I know you appreciate the quality of my work, and I’m currently bringing on more customers. Space is limited, but if you know someone who needs [specific task], I would be happy to help. I’m offering a 10% commission for every successful referral.

Please feel free to pass on my contact info. They can reach me at [contact info].

Thank you!


[Your name]

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#14: Use offline strategies

Good for beginners: Yes!

The other strategies on this list are online marketing strategies.

But you can use offline strategies, too, even if you offer coaching online.

A few ideas include:

Attend networking events

First, you can attend networking events in your area, such as conferences. These events shouldn’t be events other coaches attend, but events your potential coaching clients attend.

For example, if you’re a health coach, you wouldn’t attend a networking event for other health coaches, but events for people who want to get healthy.

Sign up for speaking gigs

Another offline marketing strategy is to give speeches. Look for conferences close to where you live and contact the organizers to sign up as a speaker.

One of my students, Ryan, has successfully used this strategy to sell his real estate coaching services.

Ryan Chaw website screenshot

Organize meetups

Another way to promote your services offline is to organize meetups and promote them in local Facebook groups, event pages, or

Create your meetup around the goal your clients are trying to reach – for instance, if you offer health coaching services, you could organize a cooking meetup for people who want to eat healthy, a workout group, or similar.

The 15-minute method to get your first coaching clients

Now you know how to market your coaching business. 

But what do you do with this information?

The easiest strategy is my PROFIT method, which makes it super easy to implement your marketing strategy.

You see, if you work a busy 9-5, you need to make it incredibly simple to market your business. And that’s what this method teaches you how to do.

Read on!

Step #1: Schedule 3 x 15-minutes of business time every week

The first step is to schedule your marketing to-do’s.

I’m a strong believer in what’s in my schedule, gets done.

By scheduling your tasks, you are SO much more likely to get them done because you’ve already committed to them.

That’s what I did, too, back when I was building my business and working a full-time job.

Every day, I would schedule in 3 x 15-minute blocks throughout the day. Think: During commute times, lunch breaks, and after I came home from work.

Business calendar first year

Over the weekend, I would create content and take care of other more time-consuming tasks.

But during the week, I’d use my 15-minute increments to share my content, engage with people, answer their questions, and so on.

And that’s how you make it sustainable to build your coaching business.

But how do you actually get clients?

That’s step 2.

Step #2: Identify potential clients

Let’s talk about one of the EASIEST ways to sell your coaching services, using the trust and relationships you’ve now built.

The Power of Free Assessments

By now, you’ve delivered value through one of the strategies we talked about. People know, like and trust you to some degree. That means you should have built up the “social capital” to be able to offer to help members of this audience, for free.

And the easiest way to share your offer and get your first paying clients is by using the power of free assessments.

These are free calls where you spend 15 minutes helping someone with one problem to show just how much you can help them with.

And then, at the end of the call, ask if they’d like to continue getting more results by working with you.

Here are a few examples of free assessments that my clients have been successful with in the past:

  • Meal Plan Assessment: “Tell me what you’ve been eating, and I’ll give you 3 easy changes to your diet to lose 5 pounds naturally”
  • Brand Assessment: “Tell me about your current brand positioning, and I’ll give you 3 recommendations to stand out in your industry.”
  • Baby Sleep Assessment: “Tell me about your baby’s current sleep schedule, and I’ll give you 3 tips to help your child sleep longer through the night.”

Facebook free call post

Here’s an example of a free Pinterest assessment
one of my clients used to get several calls

Key Point: Solve ONE Quick Problem

Make sure to solve just ONE quick problem for your free assessment.

You need to solve a big enough problem to show that you can help get results…

BUT you don’t want to solve so much of their problem that they think they don’t need any more help.

Think about these as “quick wins,” not the entire solution.

For example: If you’re a weight loss coach, you don’t want to try to cram in a lot of information about weight loss into 15 minutes. Instead, show them how they can quickly get results (but not ALL the results) with a meal plan or an exercise routine.

Want to learn exactly what these quick wins look like? Check out Step 2 in this video I put together for you:

After you’ve gotten people to take you up on these calls, here’s what you’re going to do to get paying coaching clients…

Step #3 Get coaching clients fast after offering the “quick win” for free

At the beginning of the free call, you’ll let them know…

“Hey I’m going to help you do this, and show you what more is possible for you. If you’re interested in getting my help to do more, we’ll talk at the end of this session about how I can help you more, alright?”

That way, you set the expectation from the beginning that if they like the “quick win,” which of course they will, you’ll talk more about how you can help them more when they hire you.

So those are the steps to get coaching clients fast.

My students have used these exact steps to get their first clients in just a few weeks, or even days, and I can’t wait to hear about how you use them to get YOURS too so that you can continue building your online coaching business.

There are two things you can’t skip if you want to get your first paying coaching clients quickly:

#1: You have to take the time to build those relationships before you offer anything. This will make it 10X easier for you to sell your coaching offer… And your clients will be HAPPY to pay.

#2: You have to make sure that your free assessment is something that your audience truly wants.

And that’s how you get your first paying coaching clients.

But getting those first clients is the FIRST step.

The next is to build a sustainable coaching business that helps you replace your 9-5.

How? That’s what you’ll learn in my blueprint for growing a 6-figure coaching business:

Want to Build a 6-Figure Coaching Business So You Can Achieve More Freedom?

Get Instant Access To My FREE Ultimate Guide Below!

When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

Read more: 

Sell Your Coaching Services

Brand Your Coaching Business 

Hold Discovery Sales Calls

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

Want to know how to build a profitable, meaningful business to replace your 9-5?

The proven blueprint for building a profitable online coaching business that frees you from the 9-to-5

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