How to step away from 1:1 coaching to create your signature program

Hard truth incoming below for all the coaches and service providers out there…

If you can only commit to part-time hours in your business and you aren’t making $100,000 in revenue yet, it might be because your available time is being sucked up through a 1:1 model.


The problem with selling single sessions…

Health Coach Training, Life Coach School, University…. most of them…

Promote individual coaching and consulting as a business model for success…

And… 100% this can be helpful when you’re getting started to:

  • Get to know your people
  • Develop a consistent formula and know intimately how to help
  • Get some initial income through the door

But… if you can only commit to part-time hours, you’re going to burn out pretty quickly and tap out at a revenue level that is… if you’re working with women in general society (as opposed to other business owners)… way less than $100,000.


Business and life will feel uphill.

You’ll feel exhausted, jaded and resentful.

Your revenue will tap out at about $5k per month (even though it will feel like you’re working all the time)

I know, because I’ve been there.

The math honestly doesn’t math when it comes to consulting by the hour in your online business.


For example:

Let’s say you have the goal to reach $100,000 annual revenue in your business, and that you sell single sessions for $120 per session.

The reality is that looks like:

  • 833 sessions per year
  • 17 sessions per week (48 weeks of the year)


Even if you have the capacity to work 40+ hours per week in your business, 17 sessions per week is energetically exhausting.

But… if you only have the capacity to work about 20 hours per week – assuming you’re completely full – that only leaves 3 hours per week for everything else you need to go in your business.

It’s like an iceberg.

I know that you know that 1:1 consulting is so much more than just the session. It’s

  • Answering potential client enquiries
  • Updating your website and services
  • Preparing resources
  • Sending email follow ups
  • Showing up on social media
  • Upskilling and maintaining professional knowledge and networks
  • Admin and bookkeeping

I would actually estimate that up (or beyond) 50% of your time is actually spent maintaining and growing your business, as opposed to just sitting in sessions.

And – in order to consistently see 17 patients or clients per week – you’d need to have a strong focus on visibility and sales  – because that’s a large number of clients to serve (and get – especially if you don’t have time to market).


And then – there’s the revenue

As I’m sure you also realise – $100,000 revenue does not equal $100,000 in take home wages.

After tax, software, professional development, accounting and expenses like advertising – a business owner will typically only take home 30 – 35% (50% is generally the absolute maximum).


The fix-it-all-in-one phallacy

The other problem with selling single sessions is that of course – your market will always choose the lowest price alternative – so if you’re selling single sessions – psychologically and subconsciously, your audience is going to choose that option because it’s less risk-adverse, but also believe it’s possible for the problem they have to be solved in a single session.

Never ever in the history of coaching and consulting have I met a client whose problem could be fixed in a single session.

Yet, what I see happen frequently is that we feel so pressured to ‘impress’ during that session that we word-spew so much information to the client and try to condense everything we know and everything they need to do into that single session so that we wow them into coming back.

One of two things typically happen:

  1. They think “Great!” I’ve got everything I needed and walk away thinking they don’t need to come back – yet, we all know that knowledge and implementation are two very different things and they may fail to take action, and then not receive the result they were seeking, so they’re back at square 1 (still with their problem)
  2. They’re completely overwhelmed. There’s just so much information that was hard to take in and then like a deer in headlights, do nothing, and still don’t come back.


What typically should happen in a first session – is that you, as a coach or consultant – should be able to listen, get the lay of the land and be able to get a baseline for what’s going on, so you can identify a path forward in future sessions. But the problem when we do that too having only sold a single session – is that they don’t feel like they got anything they could walk away with. Again, don’t rebook.

The juggle of single sessions and trying to get people to return – is also exhausting, and sometimes our clients also have the perception of ‘will I just have to come back weekly until I die?’ So even if they come back for one or two sessions – there’s often a drop off there too.



So what is a better option?

And what is the best option?


A better option: Package your Services

A better option is to package your services into an offer that is unrelated to an hourly rate, and this would be packaged into a group of sessions, plus additional bonuses (look – you’re likely already providing this and you just haven’t advertised it that much).

You’re going to package this based on the transformation or result you help people achieve.

So this might look like:

  • Healing adrenal fatigue and getting your energy back (rather than 6 x naturopathic sessions)
  • Creating and launching a top rated podcast (rather than 6 x business coaching sessions)

If your business model is business to consumer, it’s typically going to look like this:

  • $1,500
  • 3 month package
  • Sessions every two weeks (so six sessions total – and I usually say the first session is a 90 minute deep dive to lend clarity to what happens)
  • Unlimited laser coaching (this is what I say for support in between sessions – via Voxer, Slack, Basecamp, Email or Messenger)
  • Other digital resources and things that you’ve likely already created for other clients to help them action, implement and save time/moneythrough the process such as:
    • Templates
    • Cheat Sheets
    • Other programs or courses
    • Recipes
    • Guides
  • Personalised plans
  • Audit of materials and homework (i.e. it might be a food diary)
  • I always like to send a little gift – commensurate with the investment they’ve made – either right at the start, or near the start when they’ve reached a particular milestone (I don’t usually advertise this but factor it into pricing)

If you serve people in a business to business capacity – your package may look very similar except your pricing may (or may not) be more premium, depending on the depth and potential outcome. You may also choose to incorporate some done for you elements as well.


The best option: A time-leveraged signature program


1:1 services can be great and a great starting point for bringing revenue and results into your business (this is where you’ll get a really good sense of your clients, what your superpower is and a formulaic process for getting results) but – you might be really limited in the number of hours you can work or just straight up burnt out

Or for example, when I used to be a life coach – know that I was better as an educator than someone who worked in a 1:1 capacity.

Whatever that looks like, there are other, more strategic ways to create a sustainable revenue without burning out…. And there will inevitably come a time when you’re ready for more space and freedom with a signature program.

  • When you have a signature program:
  • You have more time flexibility
  • You can take on an unlimited # of clients
  • You can simplify how you help people
  • You can become known for one thing
  • You can automate or eliminate large parts of your business (like discovery calls)

So… you’re ready to step away, but how do you actually do that without going cold turkey and basically starting your business again. It can feel like a chicken and egg scenario.


1. Up your Prices

Yes, you’ll lose a few clients, but that’s the point, and chances are you’re not charging enough anyway. Ignore what everyone in the market is doing and raise your prices. Hopefully, you’ll retain a few clients but maintain the same level of income you had before, freeing up time for you to work on other things.

And…. the clients you attract for a premium price are generally the type of clients who’ll get the best results, and be most prepared to do the work.

Win. Win.


2. Create a Runway

Allow yourself some time to create and warm up your audience with your new business model by leaning out your expenses and building a revenue runway of 3 – 6 months. This means that ideally, your business bank account can sustain you for 3 – 6 months while you invest time (not spend, invest because it will pay off later) in creating this new revenue stream. This takes away some of the pressure to make an instant switch (and be successful right away – because sometimes there are some kinks to iron out) and often you’ll need to be focusing more on social media.


3. Brainstorm

Brainstorm your product at a very basic level.

Do not create your entire program and product in advance (because you don’t know that it will sell). You want to just brainstorm:

  • What the transformation is?
  • What one problem it solves?
  • Who it’s for?
  • How long it would take for someone to get a result if they put in the work
  • Any other requirements…


If you’ve been seeing 1:1 clients for sometime – you’ll likely have a clear idea of who you can get the best results for, and what the steps are for someone to get that.


4. Ascertain Demand

In the Signature Success Framework, we have several options to allow you to generate demand for your program and get paid for it – before you actually create it – and if you don’t want to wait until you have a big runway and want to step away from 1:1 services sooner rather than later: you’ll love this approach.

If you’re ready to start stepping away from 1:1 services, you can have your signature program to market in less than 30 days – and in fact – you should.

It’s scary to put something out there – but one of the biggest mistakes I see service providers make: is waiting too long.

You’ll never feel like you’re ready

You’ll never feel like there’s enough time

You’ll never feel like your audience is large enough

You’ll never feel like ‘now’ is the right time.


You just have to commit and go for it!


And sure, it helps if you have an audience and email list, but neither of those things are necessary.

Not only does selling your program before you create it help you feel validated and motivated while you’re delivering it- it also does a few other vital things:

  • It validates that demand in the market exists (often we can ask our audience if they would be interested in a thing and they all put their hands up and say yessss, but when we ask them to put their money where their mouth is – everything changes). Straight up asking people to pay is the No 1 way to check that demand exists in the market. And if demand doesn’t exist, phew! you’ve just saved yourself so much time – you get to tweak and refine, and then pitch again later (rather than spend years putting something together only to find out there was something not quite right in the offer or messaging and have to start again from scratch).
  • It helps you write better curriculum. In our Signature Success Framework I teach how to put together a logical and cohesive structure to your program – but there’s always golden bits of information that come from the clients in your first round. When you put out an Ascertain launch – you’ll get feedback right out the gate, as well as feedback as you go through – to ensure that your curriculum is the absolute best it can be and you can tweak and refine as you go.
  • Quite simply: launching like this makes everything happen faster. I’ve worked with service providers before who have dreamed of creating their signature program for more than three years – it will take months (and years) longer, when you’re trying to get everything finished and perfect first. Launching in this way ensures you’ll be out of the gates far faster than you would have otherwise.


5. Deliver

Once you’ve sold your first group of programs, it’s time to deliver them in a live, group coaching format. Aside from not having to create content that nobody wants (why we presell), delivering your program live enables you to make tweaks as you go and get real-time feedback about anything needed or anything missing from your program.

And.. because you’ve already sold it, you’ll always deliver. Again, say goodbye to the “I’ve been thinking of a program for 3 years” scenario.


6. All out Launch

Now that you’ve delivered your first cohort and created your program, it’s time to build out your other assets (that you can reuse for future sales) and build out a launch schedule for future program sales.

Again, we work through this with you all through the Signature Success Framework. 

Launching (especially in the current market) isn’t just about opening the doors and saying ‘hey, doors are open, buy my thing!’ – it’s about creating a runway that supports people in understanding who you are, what you do, how you take people from zero to hero and why they want to take action and transform now.

(Fact: you might know so deeply in your bones that you can heal someone’s adrenal fatigue, or completely transform their business using Instagram, or radically reduce the meltdowns their kids have so they can create more harmony in their family – and people might desperately want one of those transformations too – but research has shown that there is inertia when it comes to actually being able to commit to change – it takes less energy to stay stuck than it does to push yourself and take action – so your launch process needs to help people see that now is the time for them to fix their problem. Think for you as an example – you may have wanted to create a signature program for the longest time – but something is keeping you stuck and stopping you from taking action – it’s all about how we can motivate people to feel ready now – and that comes from a long lead time with strategic messaging and offer support).


7. Rinse and Repeat and enjoy your new time leveraged business

After you’ve been through this process. BIG congratulations! You now have a time-leveraged business and have separated your revenue from your hours worked. It then all becomes a process of rinsing and repeating your launches and improving 1 – 3 key metrics each time you launch and reverse engineering your revenue goals and targets.


Stepping away from 1:1 coaching was one of the absolute best decisions I had ever made in my business and I’m incredibly grateful for the coach I had at the time who pushed me to make the move. I’ve never looked back!




Daily tips on growing your audience, impact and revenue (without sacrificing your life): @robynbirkin

Feel like you're growing your business and there's only so many hours in the day? I hear you!

In 2018 I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel of 'things I should be doing' in my business and getting absolutely nowhere. So much so, that in November 2018 I announced to my audience that I was quitting. It was beyond exhausting and I at the same time as I was growing my wellness business, I was helping my husband with his and growing two beautiful girls.

Except that... (that's the funny thing about a calling - they won't leave you alone) I just couldn't stop and actually quit.

Turns out, I didn't need to quit - I just needed to stop taking advice from everyone else and get hyper-focused and strategic. with my business. At the same time as I cut my hours to a tiny six hours per week in my business, I reached a six figure revenue. Want to learn how? Well it started with stepping out of 1:1 Coaching and launching my very own signature program, and then scaling with peace and profit levers. Click here to learn exactly how I created a profitable, part-time business.

(Even if you still want to do 1:1 coaching, or you've already launched - I promise this is going to be super helpful.)


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