I’m not a coach but people often ask me for help. They want to take me for coffee and pick my brain and jump on a call. If I said yes to every request, there wouldn’t be any time to do any work.
In thinking of an alternative way to help them, I started building a tool to facilitate giving guidance without compromising my flexibility or ability to build a business. This led to Coachvox, a platform for coaching and mentoring by voice note.
I started telling my audience and now I engage with clients on Coachvox via asynchronous messaging. I help them with their challenges, they do weekly check-ins and ask for second opinions and support with specific problems. Coachvox handles the billing and facilitates the chats, I log in once every few days, listen to voice notes and respond to my clients, but I have no Zoom calls to join or calls to arrange.
This is microcoaching in async form, and’s cool to see how much it’s making a difference.
A few months in, I’m hooked on this way of helping people and have inadvertently built a 6-figure mentoring business without any calls or meetings in my diary.
If you’re someone people want to learn from, it might suit you too. Working in this way is awesome, so I’m sharing a step-by-step of how I’m doing it.
Decide on your topic
This should really be obvious. What are you always asked about? What do people lean in to hear more about? What are their follow-up questions? You cannot ignore frequency. If you consistently receive the same requests for help, those topics are in demand. The questions are what your audience want from you.
If you’re not sure what these are, ask. Run polls, ask your clients, ask your friends and audience. Ask them about their biggest challenges, ask them what they want you to help them with, ask them about how you’ve helped them before. Topics will come out and you can decide if you want to own them.
As well as asking others, look inward.
- What do you feel is your unique insight?
- What do you get the most enjoyment helping others with?
- What feels effortless for you to talk about?
- What adds the most value to the people you guide?
Jot the topics down and find the common thread. From this you want your offer to be clear:
“I help X do Y”
Keep asking questions until you find the X and Y.
Since I sold my business after ten years of building it while travelling, I am mostly asked questions by business owners about how they can do similar. My offering on Coachvox is, “I help business owners live their dream life while running their business.”
Decide on your pricing
$100,000 per year means $8,333 per month, so decide how you’ll split this up. Decide how many clients you want. Fewer, larger clients or more smaller ones? Your chosen topic might dictate where you sit on this scale.
Here are some options for pricing if you want to make approximately $8,333 per month:
3 clients paying $2780 per month
5 clients paying $1670 per month
7 clients paying $1200 per month
10 clients paying $835 per month
15 clients paying $560 per month
20 clients paying $420 per month
30 clients paying $280 per month
40 clients paying $210 per month
There is no right answer, it’s up to you how you charge. Base your monthly price on how many clients you want to have and the fee you can command for the value you bring. You could work out the price compared to your regular hourly rate if you have one. You could link it to the number of voice notes you will send throughout the month.
Set up on Coachvox
This part was straightforward but important to get right. Your profile should show how you’re going to help people with your chosen topics and the difference you’re going to make. This is where they learn the service, the price and can choose whether they apply for one of your slots.
Start at coachvox.com and apply to be a coach. Here’s where the platform asks some simple questions about who you are and what you do, including a link to your website or LinkedIn so they can check you out. Step one is a basic application, then once you’re approved you can connect your Stripe, verify your identity and complete your profile.
Headline, bio, experience, what your clients will gain: Complete these sections with your dream client in mind. Speak directly to their wants and needs and convey that you understand them and know exactly how to help. Think of your profile as less of a brochure of you and more of a sales page for them. “What’s in it for them?” should be the lens through which you complete every section.
Voice note, working style, service level agreement: Since you’ll be engaging with your clients by voice note, add a voice note to your profile. In the working style section, establish whether you’ll be more coach or mentor, straight talking or empathetic, formal or informal. Create your service level agreement by specifying how long you’ll take to respond and on which days.
Testimonials: These matter for applicants. You can tell everyone how great you are, but other people saying it carries far more weight. Dig through your emails, Google reviews and messages to find what clients have said about working with you specifically. Find examples where they mention the problems you solved for them and the difference you made to their world.
Go out to your network
When your profile is complete, you’re ready to go out to your network. Planning this carefully means you can launch on every channel at the same time, and let your audience know there are a limited number of spaces.
Here’s how I approached promoting my Coachvox offering via various channels.
Via email: If you have a list of engaged people, this will likely be your biggest source of clients. Coachvox has examples of emails its coaches have used that you can copy or adapt.
I went out to business owners who had attended my workshops or taken my courses with an email that had the title: New 1-to-1 programme. The contents of the email were as follows:
I wanted to share something that might be up your street :) I am helping a few business owners build a business that runs without them, so they can free up headspace, feel happier and enjoy their life more!
We're working together on Coachvox using voice notes (completely async). I’m opening up some more coaching slots for a limited period of time. If you're interested just get back to me and I’ll share more details with you.
When they responded, I asked about their specific goals or challenges to make sure I could help. Once that was established, they went through to my Coachvox profile and applied.
In LinkedIn messages: If you have a LinkedIn account, you might have been asked for help via LinkedIn messages. Head to your inbox, look through the messages and see who is there. Craft a message similar to your email outreach.
On your social media: LinkedIn posts, Instagram posts or stories, tweets, Facebook, TikTok and so on. I used email and private messaging to sign up clients, but sharing more broadly might match your service. Experiment with different value propositions and calls to action, assess the results and iterate accordingly.
On your website: Your Coachvox offering might make sense to be listed as one of your services, or it could be displayed on your contact page for people who get in touch for guidance and advice. I added my link to my website’s contact page under the question, “Do you do mentoring?”
Other ways: Consider the other ways you engage with your audience and where might be a natural fit to upsell voice note coaching. If you have a podcast, use the pre or post-roll slot, or talk about it during an episode. If you host webinars or classes, add details to the thank you page when someone signs up, or in an email sequence after. You could talk about your offering at the end of a keynote, within a book you wrote or after a workshop.
Once your spaces are gone, Coachvox will populate a waitlist for you, so if clients drop off you can replace them straight away. With that in mind, it makes sense to oversubscribe your spots.
How to look after your clients
Hopefully the above has brought you some clients and you’re building up to six figures with a few slots left. If this is a completely new way of working for you, you’ll want to establish habits early on, so your coaching and mentoring is effective and manageable around your main venture.
Here are some things I do to make this happen.
Earmark your response times: In my calendar I add slots every other day for responding to my Coachvox clients. While these are flexible, having the time booked means it’s part of my weekly routine and doesn’t spread out throughout the whole day. For me, these are always in the afternoons.
Use your default mode network: I usually don’t respond to voice notes from my clients straight away because my answers are better when their questions have hung out in my subconscious. I listen, use the notes feature of Coachvox to jot down thoughts and ideas, then let them stay in the back of my mind for a day before responding in a succinct and considered way that adds the most value.
Make use of Coachvox features: I often schedule messages rather than send them right away if I want my clients to receive them at a certain time. For example, I’ll schedule a “how did it go?” message to arrive with them after an important event or meeting. I use the notes feature to make notes on progress and sometimes I used the saved voice notes feature to set exercises for multiple clients without recording the same message twice.
Establish a set way of working: Most of my clients do weekly check-ins on a Friday, and when we start working together we decide what they will check in on. For some it’s progress they have made in their profession, obsession and decompression (from this talk), for others it’s alternative metrics we decided upon together. Some of my clients record their thoughts on specific issues and I simply respond with questions to help them reframe their challenges, for others I’ll send them links and give specific instructions on what to do next.
The sooner you establish what your clients need, the sooner you’ll be in a productive and sustainable habit of working together by voice note.
Coaching by voice note
I’m a few months into this service and enjoying every part of it. If I had to sit on Zoom calls or book in meetings there’s no way I would do it, but voice notes are so flexible and I love responding whenever suits me.
Although I have no desire to run a traditional coaching business, being able to support smart people with challenges I have experience of overcoming is really rewarding. Plus, I know my clients get far more value from microcoaching than if we were to meet once every month or so. I never need to be caught up because I know what they’re doing when they’re doing it.
If people ask you for help and you want an enjoyable way of doing it that is effective but doesn’t cost your freedom, this could be the method for you.