PuzzleSmSo I get a question from a prospective client.

“I want to make money selling ebooks and products on the Internet. My coach says that’s impossible. I need to get clients. I can’t even hold workshops.”

Okay. But then there’s another question:

“Hey Cathy – I want to make money coaching. My coach says it doesn’t make sense because it’s tied directly to hours instead of work and then get a stream of income.”

Much of reading anything these days – from newspapers to blogs to Facebook – will make you feel like you’re living the fable of the blind men and the elephant. It also can give you headaches.

The truth is, these coaches are both right.

The bigger truth is, you have to decide what business model you want and find some one – or some people – to support you. Once you know your business model, you focus your energies. If you’re not going to be a coach you get to skip all the stuff about get- acquainted calls.

Selling Info Products

You can make money by selling ebooks and products. If you choose this path, you’ll need a system to collect information about what’ topics are hot, who’s buying, what are the buying triggers, and where can you get state-of-the-art keyword search numbers. You start by researching markets first and creating products to deliver to those markets.

You can find all kinds of role models. Some people actually make a lot of money selling kindle books on Amazon. They choose their markets and topics. They follow formulas to create products that will please readers and get good reviews.

If you’re an outgoing person who likes a lot of human interaction, this model could drive you crazy.

On the other hand, once you create a product, you can sit back and collect the money while you move on to other projects. I haven’t done this on a grand scale but I’ve made thousands of dollars over the years from ebooks – a lot more than if I’d gone to a conventional publisher.

Coaching and Consulting

If you want to start a service business, such as coaching or writing or design, you’ll probably need some training as a coach. More important, you will needs LOTS of training to market your services. You’ll need skills in sales, networking and speaking. You need complete confidence that you can deliver solutions.

You’ll probably be advised to set up free consultations to get clients. You’ll direct clients into programs, typically one-to one consultations, until you gain traction and then start working with groups.

Your challenge will be to make the business scalable so you get out of the pay-by-project or pay-by-hour mode. I’ve talked to many coaches who are earning a good (even great) living but walk around feeling exhausted. If you’re in that category, there’s plenty of help out there.

The Great Coaching Msmatch

In my experience, few (or no) coaches can help with both business models. Just about everyone I know is convinced that one model is superior to the other. Hire a coach who’s living off passive income and she’ll tell you coaching is too much work. Choose a coach who’s sold on coaching and he’ll tell you he’s making a fortune and working 20 hours a week.

To complicate things further, if you’re a copywriter or designer, you’ve got different marketing challenges. Your clients will be a different species from the clients of coaches. You can learn some techniques but a lot of your decisions will be different.

When I work with someone who says, “I paid $40,000 for coaching in the last two years and I’m not doing well,” often the reason is a mismatch between coach and business model.

If you’d like to sort out the difference, I’d love to talk with you! Visit this page to set up a diagnostic and we’ll figure out what’s going on and what strategy you need. I’ll recommend resources that make sense regardless of your model.

You might also enjoy my ebook on choosing a coach.