Coach without clients, draining savings

When I turned 40, I decided that I wanted a new career. I had been a stay at home mom for 10 years, and I was really interested in health and fitness (and had gone through my own weight loss journey). I got certified as a personal trainer and I opened a personal training business in 2012. I got certified as a health coach in 2014 and changed my business to just coaching.

I have made very little money since I started. I have only had 3 paying clients this entire time. I’ve made less than $3000 in over 4 years. No kidding 🙁 I have a great website, I have tried various opt-ins over the years, I write consistent emails to my list, I have done Facebook ads, I have attended networking groups, I have tried a lot of different things to bring in traffic to my website or referrals from others and I am not bringing in any new clients. I even created an online course and didn’t sell a single one. I have only had a few discovery calls and any offers I have made to my email list have not sold.

There are a lot of things that are bothering me about all this. One, I have spent over 60K of my savings between getting certified, continuing ed, private business coaches, marketing classes galore, and while I had a nice nest egg to start, it’s dwindling fast. Part of the reason I started this business was to serve others but the other reason was to make some extra money so that we could uplevel our lifestyle. Nothing greedy, just want to take my family on nice vacations and maybe get a larger house because we feel cramped in the one we have. Instead, I’m spending tons of money and making none. We all could’ve gone to Italy 5 times over with what I’ve spent on this business (sensing some resentment there?).

Two, it pisses me off that I have worked so hard and not gotten paid. This past December I got so discouraged that I started sending out resumes to see if I could find a job. Then I decided to try again with the business one more time. I have created an amazing weight loss program (with a great new opt-in to go with it) and I am really excited about it. But I really don’t know what to do differently this time. I have belonged to a networking group for 6 months but no one has referred to me so far (even though I refer to them). I want this new weight loss program to generate a lot of buzz but I’m not sure how to get the word out. I’m thinking of hiring a Facebook ads consultant to help me build my list. I have tried ads in the past, and something just didn’t work because the people I specified to look at the ad were NOT the people who were “liking” the ad.

Here’s the thing: I can’t keep pouring money into this business and not making anything back. I have taken huge losses for years now. It’s so discouraging. It’s also really hard because I am pretending to my friends and family that everything is going great with my business. I’m too ashamed to admit I’m struggling (is it really any of their business anyway?) and I’m afraid that they will only refer people to me if they think I’m successful (but they don’t refer to me anyway).

So basically I have worked thousands of hours for free for the last 5 years and in spite of everything I’ve learned about how to market my business, I can’t seem to get clients. If I can’t get clients, I can’t help people lose weight and feel better so they’ll tell all their friends to come see me. Are some things just not meant to be? You can see that I’m a doer. When I say I’m going to do something, I do it. I have put in the work, dammit. I don’t want to quit because if I could just get clients I would love this so much. And I don’t want to quit because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. And I don’t want to quit because I don’t want the haters (“friends” who basically said who am I to think I can do this) to win. Please help! Love ya.