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10 Surprising Reasons that you don’t have Clients Yet – and 4 Simple Fixes!

by bevbarnes on September 24, 2013

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In my work training  Life Coaches for Martha Beck Inc, and coaching  Life Coaches  and other mission driven healers who are starting out – the most common complaint that I hear is that they don’t have any clients yet.

At first glance it sounds like a huge problem. They have spent thousands of dollars to train as Life Coaches and they don’t have any clients.

Why? That’s the topic I’m exploring today. You might see yourself below and find the solutions you seek.

1. You think that training as a Life Coach is enough.

It isn’t.  You could be the greatest Coach in the world, but if nobody knows you exist, then you won’t have any clients.  If you haven’t told anybody, if you haven’t figured out who you can help, and how to connect with them even if you were trained by Oprah herself (if she trained Life Coaches) you won’t have clients.

Clarity tip: Adopt an entrepreneur’s mindset. First figure out what you offer, then figure out who needs that and start letting them know that you exist.  If you’ve connected to the people that need what you offer, you’ll get clients.

2. You haven’t accepted that you are a beginner.

Most Life Coaches make a career transition – from work that was not soul-inspired but they had a lot of experience and expertise doing, to work that they are passionate about – but are still learning.   To start over as a Life Coach, you have to do just that…..start over.  You are no longer an expert, Vice President, Physician, Human Resources Manager, Lawyer, Teacher.  You are a newbie Life Coach – willing to build slowly but steadily, get paid less than you used to – at first – maybe even (gasp) coach for free to gain experience.

Practice your trade – exchange services, coach for free or low cost, try stuff out.  Fail.  Fall and pick yourself up and keep going.  If no one signs up for your program, re-jig it, try something else.

 Clarity tip:  Be a beginner.  Remember what it was like to learn how to ride a bike.  Try, fail, fall – pick yourself up and do it again.  Eventually something will stick.

3. You aren’t all in.

You are waiting to become confident to commit to your new profession.  You spend more time looking for other jobs, rather than creating your coaching business because you aren’t sure that you can do this.

Confidence tip:  Compile evidence that creating a successful coaching business is possible.  Your brain needs some concrete information to get onboard with your heart.  Remember if YOU don’t believe it will happen, it won’t.  Get support.  Join a group of others who are re-designing their work.  It’ll keep you on track even when you have doubts.

4.  You don’t need the money.

Your income is an ‘”extra” in your family.  Your role has always been home manager rather than business person.  Your shifting role changes your family dynamics and no one is comfortable with this upheaval so you’ve put your soul’s aspirations on the back burner.

Confidence tip:  Find your “why”.  Find a powerful and personal reason that you want to create this business.  Is it your calling?  Is it your dream?  Is it a nagging pain that won’t go away until you do it?  I wrote a whole blog about finding a powerful why here.

5.  Your life is in the way

This is closely related to number 4 above.  You have other priorities or demands that take all your emotional energy.  You may have challenging relationships with your spouse or children – or a family situation that doesn’t work for you, that you have never addressed.

Coaching is your dream, your way out.  Unfortunately you can’t create and authentic coaching practice by ignoring your personal issues.  To be a healer, you have to heal yourself first.

Clarity tip:  Get some help to deal with what is keeping you stuck.  YOU might need coaching before you can start being a coach.  Healing yourself is the first step to healing the world.

6. You are in the wrong Niche.

I wrote a whole blog on that here. If you are in the wrong niche, you aren’t inspired, or you are drained by the few clients you have. Why would you do more to connect to the wrong people? You are relieved that you don’t have clients.

7. You haven’t started yet.

If you haven’t started yet, you’ve done a lot of dreaming about coaching – but you haven’t announced yourself as a Life Coach.  My hunch is that something is stopping you – worry that other people will approve of you is a big one here.  Here are some of the things I’ve heard: –

– People are going to think I’m wasting my Masters/Law/Medical/Accounting degree;

– People are going to think I’m a flake;

– People are going to wonder why they would see me when they could go to a therapist;

– People are going wonder how I can ever make a living.

Clarity tip:  When you tell yourself something about what people are going to do, think or feel, you are talking about your own fears. It has nothing to do with other people.  You need to prove to YOURSELF how your new career can benefit from your old qualifications, why you aren’t a flake, what your value is and how you can be successfully self-employed.  You need to get coached to work through these and other limiting beliefs – or coach yourself.

8. You are lying to yourself

You say you don’t have any clients, but it’s not true – you just tell yourself that.  I’ve seen this one so many times it’s surprising.  My clients tell me they don’t have any clients but they do.  They have regular clients.  What they are really saying is that they don’t have enough clients.

Clarity tip:  What your mind perceives becomes your reality.  Start celebrating what you have instead of bemoaning what you don’t have.  It’ll shift.  It always does.

9. There is no space in your life.

Every second of your life is filled.  You have a full time job, children, volunteer activities, many commitments.  You are an efficient multi-tasker who is focused on 10 things at the same time.

Breathe.  You actually don’t have the energy or the space to add something new to your life – like a new business.

Clarity tip:  Only after you rest and play, will you get inspired to get clients or start a coaching practice.  Allow yourself that time.

Plan rest into your schedule as a priority.  Rest until you start to have some space in your life and the tiredness releases its grip.  This might take far longer than you think.  Once you are feeling some energy or space in your life add play – something that you’ve been dreaming about for a long time that has nothing to do with starting a business – kayaking, painting, whatever you yearn for.

10. You aren’t confident about your coaching abilities.

This is a chicken and egg dilemma – the fewer clients you have, the less confident you become as a coach.  But how can you get clients if you aren’t confident of your abilities and how can you get confident if you don’t have any clients?   The solution is to find innovative ways to coach.  When you are coaching, whether you are paid or not, you get experience and feedback and practice.  You start feeling like a coach.

Clarity tip:  If you don’t have any clients, offer you services for free to people who need you.  Offer a free class, a free afternoon of coaching – first come, first served, offer advice in your Facebook groups or forums, design a free test program that you offer for free so that people will try it out and give you feedback.  Hit up your relatives, people in your yoga class, old high school friends, fellow dog-walkers, people at the gym, the hairdresser (a goldmine for potential clients btw).    Just DO something and stop thinking about it.

Here is the simple truth on how to get clients – you connect with them. Connect with the people who need what you offer:

1. Know what you offer – closet organizing, meditation for peace, relationship rescue, clarity and confidence building (that’s what I offer), business building – whatever it is, you have to be able to name it.

2. Deeply believe in what you offer and why. It comes from your soul, not your ego. Be clear on why you are doing this.  Have a soul-based reason, one that makes your heart sing when you think about it or talk about it.  Your energy will be contagious.

3. Figure out which people need the things you offer. Connect with them. Speak to them. Write to them. Make videos for them. Hang out with them. Find out more about them. Describe them.

4. Offer these people, who need what you do the stuff that they want. If you have figured out what they need and you can provide it, they will pay for your services. You’ll be able to make a living and continue to serve.

And isn’t that the goal?

I LOVE hearing from you. Are your reasons listed above? Share your story below. If you’ve been coaching for a while, what did you do as a new coach to get clients? Share your expertise!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Janelle September 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Beautiful post Bev! I remember feeling that way when I first started out. One thing that really helped was understanding that it takes time to build a practice. Like … 2-3 years for most people. I thought it was just supposed to be instantaneous! How funny. Now that I have a full practice there are different challenges, and I’ve learned that each step is an opportunity to grow. So … if you’re a new coach looking for clients – keep putting yourself out there, consistently, and they will find you! Oh, and follow Bev’s advice. 🙂


bevbarnes September 27, 2013 at 1:57 am

Thanks for your comments Janelle. I love the reminder that it takes time. Little bit by little bit it happens. You are proof! xo


Tracy September 26, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Awesome, clearly stated, helpful, to the point post! Thanks Bev!!!


bevbarnes September 27, 2013 at 1:57 am

You are very welcome Tracy!


Lientjie September 30, 2013 at 6:26 am

Hi Bev, Thank you for the practical advice. For me, the biggest challenge is to know what I offer and who my target market is.


bevbarnes September 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm

One thing to do to get started is to download my free class in the sign up box, 10 steps to your natural niche. You start by identifying your “thing” which comes from your gifts. Who you want to work with, that comes from your core message because you’ll figure out who needs what you offer. Then you can create stuff for them. Start with YOU and you’ll be going in the right direction:)


Kristen October 6, 2013 at 1:40 am

#1 and #2 resonate the most with me. I just figured that since I graduated LCT and had told people about my coaching, I would get clients. That hasn’t really been the case. Now that I have a clear niche, I am putting myself out there a lot more in various networking opportunities. After doing this for a few months, I am starting to get more clients and interest. It really does take work, but it’s so much fun. Thank you for your tips Bev! I needed them.


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