Three years ago, another triathlon coach told me, “You can’t make money selling training plans.”
“You’re absolutely right,” I agreed “You can’t.” I’ve had this same conversation at least half a dozen times with other coaches.
Yes, it’s absolutely true that they can’t make money selling training plans. What I didn’t tell them each time was, “You can’t, but I can.”
I couldn’t always sell a lot of training plans. In fact, in 2009 when I first started selling training plans on TrainingPeaks®, I only sold $420 in training plans my first year. If I account for the time spent creating and marketing the plans, I made about $1.15/hour—not an efficient use of my time.
After a lot of testing, learning, failing and eventually succeeding, I developed a methodology and process that enabled me to sell more than $100,000 in training plans in 2013 and every year since then.
But, in order to get there, I first had to address and overcome these three myths:
1. “Athletes won’t pay for training plans when they can find them for free.”
There are a lot of training plans available for athletes in sports like triathlon, cycling and running. When I Google “triathlon training plans,” I get about 1,740,000 results. Many of these plans are free.
Truth be told, a lot of athletes won’t pay for training plans … at least the first time around.
The key to creating plans that athletes want to buy, is to add more value than what the athlete sees in a free training plan. For example:
- Do you offer training plans that match their experience level?
- Does your training plan include a guide that explains your methodology and terminology?
- Can they email you if they have questions?
- Do you provide other resources like nutrition tips in your blog?
Training plans fill a necessary niche in the coaching market on the spectrum between one-on-one coaching and self-coaching. In a perfect world, every athlete would hire an awesome coach who helped them reach their potential. The reality is that not all athletes want coaches or can afford them. A good training plan will help the athlete take the guesswork out of training at a reasonable price.
Unfortunately, by providing free training plans with little detail and no coach support, coaches are doing athletes a disservice.
2. “I need to be a famous athlete or coach to be able to sell training plans.”
Like anything in life, being a celebrity has its perks. If you are a celebrity coach or athlete, many athletes already know who you are so you already have a following. Your challenge then will be to help them realize that you have training plans that can help them in their training to be successful on race day.
For the rest of us, we must find athletes and convince them that we can help them.
The first step is to create training plans to sell. TrainingPeaks is an excellent online platform for creating and selling training plans because TrainingPeaks already has millions of users plus some nice features like allowing the athlete to upload and view their workout data from a lot of different devices. Any plans that you create and publish are searchable in their training plan store.
The key to selling more of your plans is to build a relationship with the athlete. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this including:
- Take the time to write your athlete bio. Authentically, share who you are and why you do what you do. Allow them the opportunity to make the connection with you. If you read my athlete bio, I share that I was in the Navy, that I survived cancer, and that my face appears on the back of all the Vineman finisher medals in 2007. As such, I’m unique from all the other coaches selling training plans.
- Set up a blog. With a blog, you have the opportunity to sell “you” as a coach to start that relationship with the athlete. They’ll get to know what you know. They’ll appreciate that you shared something that helps them.
- Write articles for websites and magazines. TrainingPeaks is always looking for new content for their blog. This is free advertising and your article will be available for a long time.
I can give dozens more examples of ways to help athletes find your training plans.
3. “I can’t make money selling training plans.”
That’s simply not true (at least for me) because I sell more than $100,000 in training plans every year.
If you want to do what I’ve done and sell a lot of training plans, I encourage you to check out my new online course on TrainingPeaks University, “The Business of Training Plans.” I candidly share my methodology, lessons learned, best practices and tips for how I sell my training plans. My goal with the course is to help you as coaches create better training plans in order to help more athletes be successful in their sport. I know I’ve been truly successful when you put me out of the training plan business.