When I started my coaching business, I made two pivotal mistakes that trapped me in a free-coaching cycle…

  • I offered way too many free Clarity Coaching Sessions and held nothing back.
  • I allowed every Discovery Call to turn into a free coaching session.

The free Clarity Sessions were part of my initial strategy, I just didn’t implement it very well (more on that later).

I’m a Business & Marketing Coach, so the help I give is super specific and strategic, but I gave them so much value, they felt they had enough to get on with and didn’t need any more help.

On top of that, I never actually offered them anything more…so even if they felt they’d like to work with me I didn’t even give them the option!!

I’d end the call feeling good that I’d helped someone and with faith that they’d return to be coached by me down the line.

They didn’t.


The good feelings soon faded when I realised my coaching business had stalled and, while I was having loads of ‘discovery calls’ (aka free coaching sessions), and I was offering free Clarity Power Hours and getting incredible results for people, no-one was booking to keep working with me.

My diary was full, I was always busy, I was coaching…but I wasn’t running a business.

Below are the Top 5 Reasons I got trapped in a free-coaching cylcle.

I’m sharing them with you in the hope that they’ll help you either not make the same mistakes, or get out of the ‘free-coaching’ trap and start getting paid.


This is incredibly common among new coaches – we have a burning desire to prove we’re good enough, know enough, are ‘qualified’ enough.

To be honest, I feel this is a necessary phase for many of us, but you can be smart about it – putting parameters in place so you don’t get stuck.

I offered free Clarity Power Hour Sessions to help me hone my coaching, find my groove, figure out exactly what my clients needed and how best I could help them.

It was pre-meditated and a brilliant strategy to help me build my authority and gather social proof.

BUT…I had no set parameters.

This is what I should have told my community:

I’m offering X number of gifted Clarity Power Hours that will specifically help you XYZ and I’m doing it in return for detailed feedback.

The sessions would have been focussed, they wouldn’t have given away the farm for free, and I’d have known when to stop.

I didn’t do that though. I offered too many free Clarity Power Hours and it damaged my ability to charge for my coaching.


Giving so many coaching sessions for free AND giving away so much high-value how-to content, ‘trained’ my community to expect me to give away my time and knowledge for free.

I never offered anything more, never spoke about my services or how they could work with me to go deeper or get better results, I didn’t explain what more they’d get if they carried on working with me.

I just gave away loads of my best stuff for free (wanting to prove myself) and believing this was the best way to build authority and attract clients.

To an extent it is, but only if done strategically.

If you’ve fallen into the high-value how-to-content free-coaching trap, you’ve trained your community to expect huge value for free, so when you finally get around to offering a paid-for-service, they’ll be shocked.

If someone gives you a free ice lolly every day for weeks, and then asks you to buy 10 lollies…what are you gonna do!?

They’d assumed you’re just giving this stuff away for free, and they’ve already had loads from you, so why should they now pay for more?

Creating a community of freebie-seekers is a very dangerous trap that loads of start-up coaches fall into.


I also should have been WAY clearer about exactly how much I’d give during those initial free sessions.

I should have focussed in on one element of their challenge, helped shift a belief, given them hope and courage to do something different, and provide a couple of quick-result tools.

I should have explained that what I’d given them was a small taster of what they’d get working with me.

I should have painted a clearer picture of the incredible results they’d get if they continued working with me.

I should have offered a specific service that could help get them all the way to where they wanted to be.

But I didn’t.

I gave So Much Value they left the call feeling they had more than enough to get on with, and worse than that: I didn’t actually offer anything else.

I let them leave the call on a Full Stop.

That’s it – you’ve had your free session, go ahead and use all the goodness I’ve given you, and there is no reason for you to ever pay to work with me.

Self-sabotaging business suicide.


Aside from a need to prove myself, and my overwhelming People-Pleasing tendencies (I’ve since got a firm grip on them btw…more on that another day!), lack of clarity over my methodology was a reason I fell into the trap.

I didn’t really know for sure exactly what I was offering as a coach.

I hadn’t sat down and worked through exactly what my clients needed and the step by step journey I could take them on.

I gave everything in one big jumble because I couldn’t see a clear path for my coaching.

This meant I gave too much of the big picture stuff away, and had no sense of what I should hold back because I didn’t really know where or how everything fit together.

If I’d had clarity over my methodology – over the journey I could take my clients on – I could have focussed my free coaching sessions on the bit before that journey even starts, the bit they needed to prepare them for the coaching journey, and then when I offered my proper services, they’d be primed, ready and excited to move forward.

But I didn’t do that – I just gave it all away for free.


This is probably The Biggest Mistake I made as a new coach: I didn’t have an offer journey.

I’d listened to the ‘gurus’ who’d told me I had to focus on one high-ticket one-to-one coaching offer.

This Is A Mistake.

Especially when starting out.

Having one higher priced offer doesn’t work in practice for a few reasons:

(a) you may not feel totally confident about selling it

(b) you don’t have enough results to back-up the price tag

(c) it’s too high of a commitment when people don’t know you yet

This is a problem I see loads of start-up coaches sitting with and unless you take action it won’t get any better.

What DOES work is having an Offer Funnel or Journey at a variety of price points, so no matter who you have a discovery call with, you have something of value to offer them as a follow-up.

You could have a few Easy Yes digital products that give your dream clients a quick solution to a pressing problem.

Those digital products could agitate a new problem that leads into your full-methodology group coaching programme.

Offering a membership is a great low-cost way of inviting clients work with you consistently.

And all of this could develop into qualified clients working more closely with you, with one-to-ones, masterminds or retreats.

The high-end one-to-one is the very tip of your Offer Funnel, the thing you’ll probably sell the least of when you get started – so it makes no sense to have that as the Only Option.

It’s like proposing marriage BEFORE you’ve even had the First Date!

It’s better to gently pave the way for your dream clients to get to know, like and trust you, get used to paying for the results you deliver, to truly learn the value of working with you.

Gently leading clients through your Offer Journey will give you way more impact and income – it just makes sense!

So that’s it, FIVE reasons you may not be getting paid for your coaching and what to do about it!

I hope you’ve found this super useful – comment below if you’re stuck in the coaching-for-free trap and let me know which of these Top Tips you’ll be implementing to start that revenue rolling in!

It’s never too late to make a change to get your business working for you – so take action to make that happen today.


I'm Sally Oddy

I'm a girl who fell into marketing 20 years ago and never looked back! I love popcorn, reading and working from home with my cats on my keyboard! (if you know, you know!) My mission? To help others express themselves in their businesses enjoying the impact and income they truly desire! 

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Sally works with soulpreneurs, pouring over 20 years experience into their hearts, minds and businesses.

Passionate about living life on purpose, Sally is all about honouring and accepting the fullness of self.

In-powering her clients to experience life in beautiful, bold, expansive ways is how they create and attract abundance and success into their lives.

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Sally is a Yorkshire Lass who grew up in 80's South Africa and is on a mission to inspire you to fulfil your dreams and potential in order to create a more in-powered and happy world.

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