How to Become a Successful Business Coach or Consultant

There is ONE major differentiator between successful coaches and coaches who are struggling.

That differentiator is what you sell.

The most successful coaches in the industry sell their services bound up in comprehensive, proprietary intellectual property. The rest sell general “coaching.” There’s a big difference between selling general coaching services and selling a very specific system that produces a very specific result for a very specific client.

Book Yourself Solid is that kind of system. It’s why I’ve been so successful.

If you don’t have a system like that to offer potential clients, what do you have that they’d be compelled to buy?

You ARE compelling on your own. That’s for sure. But, is it enough to have a never-ending stream of new clients clamoring for your services? Maybe…but usually not.

Here are three solutions. Choose which is right for you and you’ll see an immediate change in your client-flow and as a result—your cash-flow.


Create your own extensive, comprehensive intellectual property that makes a major statement in your industry.

This is what I have done with Book Yourself Solid and it’s one of the main reasons I have been so successful.

Dale Carnegie’s leadership and public speaking coaching business all stemmed from his seminal work, How To Win Friends and Influence People. Without this crucial piece of intellectual property, his hugely successful training company wouldn’t have got anywhere near the amount of traction it has.

Ken Blanchard is another example from the same industry. On the back of the success of his short book, The One Minute Manager, he now runs a worldwide coaching and training company.

But you don’t need to have an international best-selling book to get these results; we can look at other examples.

Who is the world’s most successful sleep coach for babies and toddlers? You might not know the answer to that, but Kim West dominates the industry based on her proprietary Good Night, Sleep Tight solution.

Bikram Choudhory is another example. He created a copyrighted, proprietary yoga system based on existing principles and became a huge commercial success in the health & wellness industry.

Admittedly, this approach isn’t for everybody, but if it IS for you, then you’re backing a winner.

Here’s a potential downside: it will probably take you years. If successful, these will be years very well spent.

Ultimately the market-place will decide if the intellectual property you create is actually worth paying for, but in the meantime, let’s see if you are, at heart, an intellectual property creator, or if your true calling is to be a coach.

Written Exercise:

  • Right now, take a pen and paper and jot down a title for a four-part program.
  • Within that program, create seven unique components for each part, each one addressing an urgent and compelling need for your target market and delivering a single big result for your audience.
  • Each of the 28 steps should contain new insights and actionable content. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel at this stage – most skilled intellectual property developers are adept at repurposing (but not stealing) existing content – but your result should be brand new to the marketplace.
  • Once you’ve done that, can you formulate, on no fewer than, say, two pages, a comprehensive year-long marketing campaign to get people into your programs based on this intellectual property? You’ll first have to design the format, delivery, pricing and structure of these programs.

It’s a lot of work, huh? But don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t come naturally. Whilst content creation is something that can be learned, it isn’t necessarily going to be the best use of your time and resources.

Many of my Book Yourself Solid Coaches, for example, are fantastic at the coaching and consulting side of things, but haven’t the inclination or skill-set or desire to go about creating proprietary intellectual property. Instead, they use mine.

Decide if this course of action is for you. If it is, then run with it. As I said before, the market will ultimately decide if it wants to pay for the fruits of your labor.

But if you don’t try, you’ll never find out.


This solution allows you to use other people’s intellectual property. You can’t, of course, do this by stealing it (but I know I don’t have to tell you that).

Coaching franchises exist that will give you the tools and marketing materials you need to sell their products to your audience.

In buying into a coaching franchise, you’ll be given the opportunity to use materials previously developed by somebody else, and sell them to your own clients under that original brand name.

In return for a lump-sum payment and an on-going monthly fee, plus a percentage of your sales, you’ll be given the right to sell the franchisor’s materials to individuals or companies within a defined geographic area.

There are several opportunities like this available, ranging from sales training schools to marketing programs and entire top-down business coaching.

The franchisors — and this differs from organization to organization — should be keen to make sure that you have the necessary tools to sell their products and programs. After all, the more money you make, the more money they make.

The most successful coaching franchises have a strict Red Velvet Rope Policy in place, which means they put a barrier to entry in place to ensure that only the most committed coaches become franchisees.

This barrier is usually financial. The two leading business-coaching franchises will not let you become a franchisee unless you are prepared to make an initial investment of the better part of $100,000.

That means that only those who have the means apply.

The advantages of this system are that you have the materials already created for you. Some of them will even allow you to rent a virtual office assistant to answer the phone on your behalf.

This is a viable solution for many new coaches out there who feel comfortable within a more corporate structure. With monthly financial reporting to head-office, the accountability factor is high.

Also, in order to succeed you’ll have to reach for the skies with your pricing, as the continued cost to remain a franchisee are usually considerable.


The third solution is to license the use of somebody else’s proven intellectual property. This is different to the franchise model, as it is often against a one-time investment and you will have the right to re-fashion and repurpose the material as you see fit.

Sometimes, you can even put your own name to the material, mix it up with your own ideas and intellectual property and rebrand it as something that you can legitimately call your own.

All of my Book Yourself Solid coaches, for example, have a full legal license to use all of the material that I have put together over the last decade, including course structure, marketing material and even promotional graphics. This is in return for a one-off investment and a period of intensive personal training with me.

I’m fully aware of my bias to this solution because it’s the one I offer. I do so because I think it’s most profitable for the coach (and the fastest way to get in the game). Another advantage of this method is the advantage of transferred credibility.

Surgeons, musicians, hypnotherapists, athletes and life-coaches boost their credibility by making reference to their mentors. If you’re looking for an NLP trainer, you’ll be reassured to know that your trainer has studied personally under Richard Bandler. If you’re looking for a chess teacher, then a student of Kasparov is almost as good as Kasparov himself.

So it is with Book Yourself Solid coaching. Teaching a system that is proven to work and that is internationally respected will confer the benefit of recognition and credibility to your own practice, even if you’re just starting out.


So there you have it, the single biggest difference between very successful coaches, and coaches that are just getting by: intellectual property.

You mustn’t forget this as you forge ahead with your career as a coach. It should be the cornerstone of the services that you offer and the brand that you create for yourself.

If you’re just starting out, or you’re already a coach without recognizable IP, it’s never too late to start.

Choose one of those three options above:

  • Create your own IP
  • Become a franchisee


  • License proven material

And don’t stop until you hit the top!

I’m always looking to speak with good, motivated and passionate coaches about joining my team as a Certified Book Yourself Solid Coach. To find out more about that, click the link below:

Book Yourself Solid Coach Training – more details

In the meantime, stay safe, stay strong and think


41 thoughts on “How to Become a Successful Business Coach or Consultant

Lou Bortone

This is such a great way to look at becoming a successful coach, because the 3 options you suggest allow the individual to play to their own, unique strengths.

Of course, as a BYS coach, I share your bias toward solution three, because it does allow the coach to “hit the ground running” and start with a proven system.

I also appreciate the BYS licensing model since it allows me to inject my own personality into my coaching, while using pieces of the BYS system combined with my own video marketing strategies.

I know it’s working for me!

Stuart Preston


Having licensed my methods after years of coaching entrepreneurs, the one thing I kept hearing from my prospects was, “I want to do it MY way!”

As coaches, we’re also independent entrepreneurs who want to do it OUR way without reinventing the wheel.

As always, great advice from Michael on becoming a business coach.


Toni V. Martin

Great post Michael! I’m actually going to refer people to it during my upcoming teleclass, “Monetize Your Message.” I help with step 1: content creation as a ghostwriter and publishing consultant. You totally nailed the pros and cons, and I hope this inspires people to move beyond the general coaching and consulting to deliver processes and systems that deliver measurable results!

Patti Hort

This is a great post, Michael. Very helpful to a number of people and situations. Always the ‘take this next step’ to get you going. In true BYS style. Love it. Thanks for sharing it with the world.


Thanks for this post. It is so validating.

I’ve been working for almost a year now on my intellectual property. It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. Yes, it’s a requires a huge investment of time and energy, but I can’t imagine not having taken the plunge and gotten to work on my own products.

Time will tell if they’re of any value to anyone. But it’s really fun to imagine the possibility for franchising my work, or selling licenses to others to use it.

I haven’t been thinking too far ahead for awhile, as I’ve found myself rather consumed by the process of creation. But as I near the completion of this phase, I’m glad to already be tuning in to hints of what’s to come.

Fabulous post!

Thank you again.

Gena Davis

Execellent post, Michael. Wow! This was very helpful in helping be encapsulate how I want to run my practice this year. IP! I knew this, but I didn’t KNOW. Thanks so much for the reminder and focus.


Excellent advice! Each customer wants results whether they’re based on the use of a system, a platform or IP. They must work as advertised with the expectation of exceeding expectations.

Sue Painter

I love how you make options so clear – always have and I suspect you always will. Each of these are viable and doable, thanks for making it easy to see.


I have been working on my program for 6 months now and I was feeling guilty that it was not done yet. Reading that others have taken a year has made me feel better about my slow progress.


Well framed Michael. I’ve already developed the IP, as you know. Just loathe the marketing and sales part, unfortunately.

Bryan Baisinger

Appreciate your energy and insight without stepping away from the deep complexity of selling product, service or self. Your natural enthusiasm of detail allows for many thoughts when reading through your materials. I think people forget their IP is there own unique social security measuring a lifetime of individual work. You remind us of this. Cheers to great business!

Patti Waterbury

Excellent summary of the options available to coaches. As one of the first BYS coaches trained by Michael, the license approach enabled me to jump start my business with a proven system. If desired, experienced coaches can implement more than one solution over time.

Catherine Morgan

I always tell coaches that people buy “you” – and while “selling yourself” can feel strange and sometimes uncomfortable, it’s the truth. People work with me for the most intangible reasons like they feel heard or they feel a connection. However, being seen as a thought leader is very important and these are great ways to create/get what you need. Thanks!

Debbie O'Grady

Great post Michael. I love how you laid out the options so clearly and yes, as one of your first BYS Coaches, I am certainly biased to the last option. Having the materials already created and available for me to use allowed me to go from nothing to a business making money and helping people in just a short amount of time. ‘Book Yourself Solid’ is an easy message for business owners to understand!


Great post! In my opinion, those who really think BIG will have a tendency to go for solution 1, creating their own IP. I think that those who decide to hang their hat as a coach have something to offer for the betterment of others. I would suspect that these same folks have an idea, a process, a methodology based on their knowledge experience and passion. This, I believe, is the foundation to creating IP in the first place. What’s more, I do believe that without this it could take years as you say Michael. Being a coach in essence is to be of service to others and those who are can only sustain their business if they do it with passion. Transferred credibility is usually temporary when you use someone else’s IP. Sooner or later you must build your own credibility all the while maintaining passion about someone else’s IP. In the long run I think that’s kinda tricky unless you’re allowed to make it your own….and how to do that is a whole other topic!

Nicole Root

Love how clearly you presented these three options! It helps me, too, with thinking about the direction I want my business to grow. Every week I get clearer and clearer about what I am meant to do and how to best convey my message to the world. The work I have done with you, Michael, has made such an impact on my day to day thinking. I am forever grateful for having the opportunity to work with you!

Paul Simister

I enjoyed reading your article Michael which puts the three options nicely into comparison.

I must admit that I don’t understand the attraction of number 2, the franchise model with its very high costs. Perhaps it’s because I hear too many stories of people who try it and lose their life savings or go into debt and can’t make coaching work for themselves.

Your third solution, becoming a Book Yourself Solid Coach is a very attractive option for anyone who doesn’t want to go through the huge effort and uncertainty of the first option.

Michael Port

I’m with you on that Paul. Often the Franchise option seems excessive but for some it might work well. Obviously, I’m biased toward my way so I’m thrilled you are too!


Joshua D. Yoder


This is a great option for those that want a lower barrier to entry into the world of coaching.

I thank you for all of your work and BYS is one of the few books that I keep on my desk all the time, dog-eared and coffee-stained.

Personally, I’m going after option number one, but I do know that there’s a large mountain to climb.

-Joshua D. Yoder
The One to Know When You Want to Grow

Michael Port

Go for it! And go big, for sure.

Great tagline, by the way.

Tracy Burrows

As a BYS coach-in-training, I am 100% certain I chose the right solution of the 3 you suggested. I wanted to be certain I could offer my potential clients a specific system that produces a very specific result AND I wanted to learn from the best in the industry.I am achieving this reality daily. Additionally, the transferable credibility I have as a result of being a part of your program has opened doors that I would never have been able to open without your name. Thank you Michael, for your dedication and commitment and for making it all possible.

Barbara Roche

This was great. I have working on my tag line for a while thanks to being inspired by yours. Do What You Love and Rise to the Top is the working version for 2012. After your written exercise I hope it gets better!

life coach los angeles

This site definitely has all of the information and facts I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


I need help.
It is content that I ;lack.
I have desire – and I have the personality.

Tell me more please.


Thanks for cogntiburitn. It’s helped me understand the issues.


Hi Michael! This article came in perfect timing. I’m just starting my career as a business consultant and I gotta say, it’s hard. You dont have tangible proof of your skills because it’s your knowledge and opinion you’re selling. Thank you for your great tips. I will make sure to keep this in mind!

Jo Martin

Hi can you please direct me where to sign up for your affiliate program.
Many thanks, Jo Martin


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