Professional career in sports didn’t work out? Or, maybe it did, and you’re looking to market yourself following a successful career. Regardless of where you’re at in your sports career, starting a sports coaching business can be a lucrative venture with a substantial amount of flexibility.
My name is Tyler, and I run a hockey goalie training website called Goalie Coaches. Seems pretty broad, right? That’s because it is. After my career as a goalie, I wanted to do more than just go back to work. I wanted to work with goalies, passing along everything I had been taught to up and comers in the hockey world.
So, I started an online sports coaching business and I called it Goalie Coaches. Today, we’ve got over 60k followers online and my business partner and I get to work with goalies around the world, not just in our geographic area.
In the article (and articles to follow), I’m going to break down the exact process I used to create a massive following online, as well as pursue my dream of coaching goalies.
On top of creating a sports training company, I also created a side website for hockey goalie prospects. This allows me to add more people to my funnel, ultimately helping to sell my monthly training program offered through GC.
It’s super important that you learn how to market your business effectively and efficiently, or you might not get the success you’re after.
How to start a sports coaching business
Entreprenuer.com claims that private sports coaches can make upwards of $75 an hour and this likely varies by niche. In my experience, I’ve found that while goalie coaches can make anywhere from $75-$125 an hour, adding online training increases this exponentially.
If you’re thinking of starting a coaching business, consider adding online training programs to your business. You’re already an expert in your field and adding online programs gives you a way to make money around the clock, not just during one on one coaching.
In this article, I’m going to cover everything we did to grow our business to over 60k online followers, and enough monthly revenue to make a decent living off of.
- Creating a business plan
- How to market a sports coaching business (and getting more customers)
- How to build a website for your coaching business (plus, creating an online course)
- Marketing materials necessary for this line of work
1) Creating a business plan
Self admittedly, this is the part I’m the worst at. Yes, GC has a ton of followers online, however I was not that strong in creating a business plan.
If you’re just starting a solo coaching business, you likely will not have the need for an official business plan. Rather, create a plan for marketing your business and getting actual clients (we’ll cover this further on down the article).
If your sports coaching business requires the help of an investor, you’ll absolutely need a business plan with things like an executive summary, organization summary, etc.
For more on writing a business plan, check out the SBA.gov.
Registering your business
When we originally started Goalie Coaches, we registered our business using Legal Zoom.
Legal Zoom is a bit more expensive to start than filing directly with your state, but we started as a partnership and wanted to make sure we got the articles of organization and business structure correct from the start.
Using an online service like Legal Zoom helps mitigate a bit of the risk for both parties when starting a joint venture or a partnership.
If you’re simply starting a single member LLC, all you’ll need to do is file your company with the state.
Insurance for your new company
If you’re going to be coaching young athletes (or even experienced athletes), it’s critical that you have your own insurance plan. Regardless of whether or not you think anybody could get hurt, injuries do happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Get an insurance agent. If you own a car or a house, you likely have insurance (or, you should have insurance) for both and know an insurance agent who can help you out with a commercial liability insurance policy.
2) How do you market a sports coaching business?
Marketing a business is my favorite part of building any business and with a following of over 60k in a very small niche, if I can do it, so can you.
There are a million ways to market your business, whether it’s with flyers spread around town or on the internet. I’ll break down my internet marketing strategy here, since this is what has worked best for me, and you can do both at the same time!
First, come up with a great name.
Want to know the secret to naming your business? Don’t overthink it. With that being said, I always tell people to come up with a name that allows room for expansion.
I named my website Goalie Coaches. It seems broad, but that’s intentional. I didn’t want to name my company “USA Goalie Coaches”, because I know there are a lot of goalies in Canada and around the world.
Finally, when naming a business, try coming up with something that has every social handle available, plus a prospective website domain. When you look up “Goalie Coaches”, you’ll see that I own all the @goaliecoaches handles on the major social networking websites. I also own the domain www.goaliecoaches.com. This is a huge help in branding your young company.
Second, purchase a domain name.
Purchasing a domain name is one of the most important things you’ll do in your business, regardless of whether you plan on marketing online or not. Whether you like it or not, you’ve got to have a website, we’re in the 21st century after all.
Is it possible to build your own website? Absolutely. I did! In total, our website cost us roughly $80 to start. For a full breakdown of how to build a small business website, read our article linked above.
I recommend purchasing your domain name on GoDaddy and purchasing website hosting with a company called Flywheel.
Third, buy website hosting.
In order to make your website run, you’re going to need to buy hosting. Think of it like this.
Your hosting is the house, the domain name is the driveway. There isn’t any need in getting into the differences of domains and hosting, just know that you need both.
Once you’ve purchased your domain name and set up your Flywheel account, setting up your actual website takes less than 5 minutes.
Bonus: buy a WordPress theme to make your website look WAY better.
PPS: we built GC on a WordPress theme called Newspaper.
Do you want to sell sports training programs online?
Adding a secondary stream of income to your business is attractive, for many reasons. The most important, your business can work for you while you sleep. Now, I would be naive to think that creating a secondary stream of income is simple – it’s not.
The good news is, anybody can do it. Here’s exactly how we added a monthly membership website to the Goalie Coaches community (and, it doubled our monthly income basically overnight).
First, build your actual website. For us, that meant setting up the GC site in a way that would attract more visitors. Getting more visitors to your website is an entirely different subject all together.
Second, add in a system called Teachable. Teachable is a software available for creators and coaches, allowing them to teach clients online. It integrates perfectly with our WordPress website and handles payments seamlessly.
Creating an email list for your company
If you’re planning on selling online courses or products, there’s a 100% chance having an email list will increase your likelihood of selling courses or products online.
For Goalie Coaches, we use a program called Drip. Drip is an email service provider that actually gives you complete access (for free) to all their features for the first 100 users in your account.
Shouldn’t I be using MailChimp? Not neccesarily. We wrote an entire article on why Drip is better than MailChimp, but the most important reason is that Drip gives you access to every feature they offer for free to start. MailChimp does not.
Using Facebook Ads to promote your business
Facebook Ads, or paid media spend in general, is one of the most risky yet high rewarding places to spend money.
The reason it’s so risky is simply because a business can spend SO much on marketing something, getting nothing in return. On the flip side, you can spend very little and return positive. The biggest thing with using Facebook Ads, or Instagram Ads or any other type of paid media spend is understanding what you’re doing.
Marketing your business in your city / area
While 99.9% of our following knows us from our online presence, we actually add new goalies to our “ecosystem” in surrounding cities by doing print marketing.
Here’s exactly how we do this.
In hockey, rinks often times have poster boards where companies can hang up ads / etc. We simply created a poster advertising our Instagram account and hung it up at local hockey rinks. How much this actually converted, I’m not 100% sure, but, it definitely added new goalies to our following.