5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The last article in my solopreneur series looked at potential earnings for independent beauty professionals and fitness pros. This time, we’re looking at two of the most popular solopreneur careers: dog trainers and therapists.
Like fitness trainers, dog trainers can increase their earnings by doing group classes and personal training, and most offer a mix of these services. What makes it tricky is that there’s a clear end result with dog training. It’s not a training service that you typically provide indefinitely to a client. Occasionally, some owners may bring their pets back for supplemental training, but once the dog’s behavior improves, it’s over.
Doing the math on dog-trainer earnings
That said, dog trainers have a relatively high price point which makes it possible for them to get to six figures. At PocketSuite, even at the low end, our dog trainer professionals earn between $50,000 and $70,000 every year. At the high end, for dog trainers that actually have a team, this can go all the way up to $300,000 per year.
Typically, dog trainers will offer a package of services including group training and private consultations. If they price the full package at $1,000 for three months, then they need 300 of these packages sold (300 dogs) to earn $300,000. For dog trainers working 50 weeks per year, that means they need six new dogs each week. Keeping in mind that they’ll be working with each dog for around three months, this is where these high-earning dog trainers may need assistance — or a well-oiled dog training machine.
Another way dog trainers boost their income is by offering boarding to dogs that have been through their classes. There’s already a level of trust with the dog owners, and this works out well for everyone. But because of the time limit on dog training, the most successful trainers are great at marketing in order to keep growing a network of clients — and obtaining referrals that keep their classes full.
For therapists and coaches, the sky’s the limit
Our data shows therapists and coaches as the highest earning group. That’s partly because they straddle the divide between business services and personal services. At the lower end, we’ve seen therapists and coaches earn around $75,000 per year, while at the higher end it’s as much as $1 million annually.
Therapists and coaches tend to have a funnel — a system for getting new clients. The process starts with an initial consultation about their clients’ challenge and what they’re trying to achieve so they can see if there’s a fit. Often, that initial assessment is free, but therapists and coaches with a great reputation may charge for that introductory conversation. From there, life coaches will propose a package or subscription of three, six or 12 months, with clients required to make a minimum commitment. Therapists will suggest scheduling recurring appointments for anywhere from a few months up to one year. Some of these relationships can last two or three years or even longer.
We’ve seen these sessions priced between $100-$300. If we average that at $200, then even if you’re only doing one session per week for a client, you’re already at $800 in income, per client, each month. To earn $75,000, you’d need 375 paying clients each year (or 7.5 paying clients per week), which isn’t a lot.
Seven-figure income sounds like a scary number to aim for, but it is very much doable. One hedge fund executive paid Tony Robbins one million dollars for his coaching services.
Let’s say you’re doing two sessions per week for clients. To get to one million dollars at $200 per session, you need 2,500 clients for the year, or 50 paying clients every week. That is certainly achievable.
Boosting earnings as a therapist or life coach
But even without that, therapists and life coaches can boost their earnings by writing books that outline their philosophy — the very thing that people can connect to. They create podcasts to reach a wider audience at the top of their funnel. Some of their podcast listeners may join a Facebook group where therapists and coaches provide more targeted feedback and informational sessions at a group level, and that can feed into actual group sessions. Some of the really successful life coaches also do retreats.
The point is that no matter what solo business career you choose, the numbers are very reasonable. I want people to know that if they’ve already started doing the work with friends, family and colleagues and are getting good feedback, they should have every confidence that if they decide to make it a professional pursuit, people will be willing to pay. It won’t take long to reach your income goal. There’s no need to take a leap of faith — just study the numbers. The solopreneur math and earning potential is real.