Joanna Lott Coaching

What I would do differently if I was starting my business now

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Coaching Business (And What to Do Instead)

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Mistake #1: Not Niching Down from the Start
  3. Mistake #2: Neglecting Personal Development and Business Education
  4. Mistake #3: Failing to Publish Long-Form Content Consistently
  5. Mistake #4: Not Hiring a Support Team
  6. Mistake #5: Not Building an Email List
  7. Conclusion


As a coach who has been in the industry for over three and a half years, I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. During the summer break, when I’m not consumed by day-to-day tasks, I reflect on what I would do differently if I were starting my coaching business again from scratch. In this article, I’ll share the five crucial mistakes I made. I’ll provide actionable tips to help you avoid them and accelerate success in your journey of starting a coaching business.

Mistake #1:

a black ipad with a word cloud image and the words niche as the focus

Not Niching Down from the Start One of the biggest mistakes I made was trying to cater to everyone instead of focusing on a specific niche. Like many coaches, I was eager to help as many people as possible, but this approach made it challenging to stand out in a crowded market. The most successful coaches have a well-defined niche, making it easy for potential clients to understand their offerings quickly.

Tip: Identify your niche from the beginning. Think about the 80-20 rule: only the top 20% of coaches bring in the majority of their income from coaching. These coaches have clear, concise offerings that can be described in a few words. For example, “Chloe helps entrepreneurs stop drinking,” or “Sonali works with organisations to improve their employee culture.” If you can’t articulate your offer quickly and clearly, it’s a sign that you need to refine your niche further.

Mistake #2:

Neglecting Personal Development and Business Education In the early stages of my business, I attended countless free webinars and challenges, thinking that creating a program and marketing it was all I needed. However, I soon realised that I couldn’t see my own blind spots and that investing in personal development and business education was crucial.

Tip: Invest in personal development and business education from day one. Work with a mentor, coach, or consultant who can provide accountability and support to help you identify and overcome your blindspots. They can also guide you in refining your offers, sales funnels, and marketing strategies to ensure you’re providing value that resonates with your target audience.

Mistake #3:

Failing to Publish Long-Form Content Consistently For the first three and a half years of my business, I struggled to establish a solid content creation system. I would often wonder what to talk about each day, which drained my energy and headspace.

Tip: Implement a system that focuses on creating one core piece of long-form content per week, such as a podcast or blog post. Then, repurpose that content into smaller pieces for social media, newsletters, and other platforms. This approach not only saves time and energy but also demonstrates your expertise and authority by answering your ideal client’s questions.

Mistake #4:

Not Hiring a Support Team While hiring a team can be daunting, especially when starting, it has been a game-changer for my business. Initially, I tried to do everything myself, but this approach was inefficient and prevented me from focusing on revenue-generating tasks.

Tip: As your business grows, consider hiring a support team. Start small by outsourcing tasks that aren’t in your skillset or that are taking up too much of your time. Platforms like Fiverr can be a cost-effective way to find reliable freelancers. Having a team in place allows you to concentrate on your core competencies and scale your business more effectively.

Mistake #5:

a woman's hands holding a black ipad with a pink screen and the words newsletter

Not Building an Email List One thing I did right from the start was building an email list, and it has made a significant difference in my business. An email list consists of people who have actively chosen to receive updates and offers from you, making them more engaged than social media followers.

Tip: Prioritize building an email list from day one. Create a lead magnet (a valuable free resource) that speaks directly to your ideal client’s pain points or desires. Then, promote it consistently across your website, social media, and other channels. Nurture your list by providing regular value-added content, and when you have an offer, you’ll have a warm audience ready to hear from you.

Here’s a quick summary of the five mistakes to avoid and the corresponding tips:

Not niching down from the startIdentify your niche and create a clear, concise offer
Neglecting personal development and business educationInvest in education and support from day one
Failing to publish long-form content consistentlyImplement a system for creating core content weekly
Not hiring a support teamOutsource tasks to free up time for revenue-generating activities
Not building an email listPrioritize creating a lead magnet and growing your email list


Starting and growing a successful coaching business requires dedication, resilience, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes. By avoiding the five common pitfalls outlined in this article and implementing the actionable tips provided, you can accelerate your progress and increase your chances of success. Remember, focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t, and be prepared to put in the effort required to achieve your goals. With the right mindset, strategies, and support, you can build a thriving coaching business that allows you to make a difference while earning a living doing what you love.

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Hi, I’m Jo, and I’d love to help you on your coaching journey. I spent 20 years in corporate HR but faced challenges balancing work and family. Refusing to settle, I ventured into coaching, seeking financial success aligned with my values. Overcoming limiting beliefs, I developed strategies to attract clients, leading to the creation of my Reliable Results Path. Now, I support coaches in achieving their goals through my Business of Coaching program. My values of honesty, personalization, and courage guide me, fostering a community of impactful coaches who believe in inclusivity and making a difference. More about me




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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.