3 Lies Online Coaches Want You To Believe


What No One Else Will Tell You About Marketing Your Coaching Business

Here’s a hard truth about being an online coach: you can’t grow your coaching business OR your bank account if you continue to TRY to run and grow your business without a solid marketing strategy.

It’s just not possible.

I know this because we, too, used to think that we could grow my business by “just being of service to peeps” and by “ networking on FB and the occasional in-person event” and by “just publishing a blog or newsletter” every now and again.

3 Lies “Successful” Online Coaches Tell You

Now, there’s a lot of hype in the world of online coaches — you’re constantly bombarded with posts touting their “most recent” 6-figure launch, or their “first” 6-figure month. What they’re NOT telling you is that these “6-figure” successes didn’t just happen.

Lie #1: Overnight Success

Did you know that (on average), it takes a business three years to be profitable?

That means that for the first three years, the business is likely losing money or breaking even. There’s absolutely no shame in this — it’s normal! And it happens to most businesses.

Whether you’re a coach, a personal trainer, or you own a local coffee shop.

Starting a new business requires a hefty investment — usually massive amounts of time, and often plenty of money (like a savings account, drafts on an existing 401K, cashing out investments, etc.).

Lie #2: No Marketing Strategy

When I see someone claim that they made 6-figures without a marketing strategy…it makes me see red. Sure, lightning in a bottle is a thing. But it’s just that — lightning in a bottle. It happens without a strategic plan. It strikes where it wants to. And it’s (usually) non-repeatable. It’s essentially pure luck.

Yes, I’ll admit (begrudgingly) that it happens. That you absolutely could make 6-figures “by happenstance.” But it’s rare — like Hope Diamond rare.

Here’s the truth: without a marketing plan, a business doesn’t track things that directly affect their bottom line…things like an operating budget, ‘feast or famine’ months, or paying contractors.

When you realize that only half of small businesses are estimated to survive 5 years or more, you wonder if that statistic is because they have no marketing plan.

Lie #3: Sharing Gross Revenue as “Profit”

I’m sure you’ve seen the posts — with screenshots — that show lots of zeros…but lack dates or fail to identify whether the revenue being shared is actually profit — or just gross revenue.

To be clear, (gross) revenue is defined as a business’s total revenue, without any losses or costs deducted. Profit is the difference between the amount the business earns in a given period (gross revenue) and the amount spent on overhead — things like purchasing, operating, or producing a product.

Now that we’re clear, it’s important to point out that most of the online coaches who share those 6-figure screenshots are only sharing what is actually their gross revenue.

They’re “forgetting” to mention the amount they actually spent on overhead during that same period of time.

If you make $100,000 from a single program launch, but you have to pay your team $30,000, you spent $20,000 on ads, and you have an average overhead expense of $10,000…did you really make $100,000?

Because last time I checked, $100,000 — $30,000 — $20,000 — $10,000 = $50,000 (the actual profit).

That’s not even close to $100,000.

Knowing this, it’s no surprise that 65% of business owners cited financial issues as the reason their business failed.

What Online Coaches Should Be Sharing

Now that we know all of that, and I want to demonstrate, with REAL, concrete figures, exactly what these “6-figure” coaches should be sharing.

But first, a bit of stage-setting: I started my business in 2016 after being a public school teacher (in HARLEM!) for 15 years, making 70k per year, not finding much joy at al in a flawed system.

There was a bright spot during that time — I became a well-respected, award-winning curriculum designer, and my clients included the NFL AND the U.S. Military. (See? I did NOT start from scratch, or become an “overnight” success.)

When I decided to quit my teaching career and turn to coaching, I thought long and hard about that decision. I planned. I put money into savings. I talked with my spouse.

Please hear me when I say this: my success in business did NOT happen by accident. I built my business BY DESIGN. I studied other businesses, I studied successful marketing campaigns, and I took strategic action.

Year 1: 70k in revenue; 45k in profit; 5 days in my work week

Year 2: 90k in revenue; 60k in profit; 5 days in my work week

Year 3: 120k in revenue; 80k in profit; 4.5 days in my work week

Year 4: 240k in revenue; 120k in profit; 4 days in my work week

Year 5: 225k in revenue; 120k in profit; 3.5 days in my work week

Year 7: 340k in revenue; 140k in profit; 3.5 days in my work week

Year 9: 550k in revenue; 220k in profit; 3.5 days in my work week

Why does this matter? As coaches, we need to do better.

Be Transparent

As you can see, I am super transparent and open with my numbers — both revenue AND profit. If you’re going to share your revenue, share your expenses as well.

Since I started my business, I have relied heavily on smart strategies, great content, and awesome relationships.

I didn’t take a magic pill or subscribe to someone’s formula for success. I did (and still do) the work, day in and day out, and I know what is working because of my marketing strategy!

Share Your Wins (and Losses)

In case it wasn’t inherently clear, I am REAL tired of online coaches talking about making all this money, but not sharing what actually happened behind the scenes.

Things like HOW they got there, what they actually brought home after they paid everyone and everything…you get the idea.

Simply put, I decided to lead the way in this space by revealing my numbers, my growth, my mindset, successes and struggles.

You Need a Results-Driven Marketing Strategy

If you’re feeling like your business just turned into a mountain, don’t worry –I am living proof that if you have the desire to build a business, a SOLID, RESULTS-DRIVEN marketing strategy, and consistent action, you can achieve anything you want to achieve.

Consider this:

  • There are 1.7 MILLION coaches in the United States alone (and 4 MILLION worldwide).
  • Over 50% of coaches are women.
  • 50% of WOMEN entrepreneurs will never make more than $25,000 a year in revenue.

If you don’t want to be just another statistic, it’s time to get really, really clear about your marketing strategy.

It’s a really good thing for both of us that my gift is creating simple, effective, results-driven marketing strategies for coaches and consultants.

And, if your gift is NOT marketing strategy, I have a question for you…why on earth do you continue to DIY that shit?

If marketing isn’t your thing…STOP!

Creating a marketing plan when your genius is anything else will feel dreadful. It’s hard. It’s slow. It’s not making your business any money.

On October 24th, 2022, I’m going to be hosting a laser-focused workshop to help you create a joyful marketing blueprint that actually gets you the results you want.

I’ve honed my marketing muscle and developed a way to help coaches and consultants get powerful results using simple, effective, results-driven strategies.




M. Shannon Hernandez | Email Marketing Strategist

Fractional CMO | Business Growth Consultant | Email Marketing Strategist | Author & Keynote Speaker | Founder & Angel Investor