Meet Angela: an extremely successful executive coach and workshop facilitator. After 15 years in the fitness industry, Angela sold her business and moved into coaching. But, although she loved what she did, she was struggling to reach her lofty financial goals. Now, she’s carved out a highly lucrative niche for herself in the facilitation industry. So how did she do it? Here’s her story.
Angela is no stranger to success. In 2003, she founded Body Inspired Fitness—a venture that she developed into the largest and longest-running outdoor fitness program in Los Angeles. In 2018, she sold the business and moved to Trentino, Italy, with the intention of taking a sabbatical.
She hoped this would be a moment to pause, reflect, and find herself, but what actually ensued was a lengthy period of sickness. Feeling lost, Angela turned to coaching as a tool to help her deal with both her illness and the sense of grief she experienced after selling her company.
As she slowly got her health back, Angela got into coaching as a profession. She started off coaching other founders on a one-to-one basis, and then, during the Covid-19 lockdown, moved into providing group coaching facilitation online.
“Lockdown was the turning point in my facilitation journey. I was doing really well, and it was actually a great opportunity to try something new without caring so much about making it perfect. The online group coaching really took off. I ended up getting about 400 hours of online facilitation work.”
Angela recalls how it was both extremely challenging and immensely rewarding to coach a group of individuals through an experience at the same time while they were all in different places across the globe. In fact, she describes it as the “greatest high of her life.” I can already tell that she’s a natural coach and facilitator through and through…
Things were ticking along, but Angela felt like she’d hit a bit of a wall. She’d undergone extensive training with the CTI (Co-Active Training Institute) to become a certified coach, and she had a solid roster of clients—but she wasn’t generating the kind of revenue she knew was possible. Angela was determined to take her coaching business to the next level, and recognized that, to do so, she’d have to drill down and find her niche.
“I was working within the personal growth space and I was having a hard time finding my niche. My work was very much focused on the individual rather than on career coaching, and I could see that there wasn’t going to be enough money in that. I needed to find something that would help me achieve the same financial numbers I had as a founder.”
Angela turned to a friend for advice—and it turned out to be just the advice she needed. Her friend suggested she look into workshop facilitation, leading Angela to Jake Knapp and the famous Sprint book. From there, she was well and truly down the rabbit hole, and it wasn’t long before she came across Jonathan Courtney and the Workshopper Master program.
“I got on a call, signed up pretty much instantly, and that’s how I found facilitation. I am the number one fan girl of the Workshopper Master program, and here’s why: the coaching I received was instantly beneficial. I remember coming to a coaching session, and I was already on the verge of feeling really frustrated and a little bit defeated that the time, money, and energy I’d put into coaching so far wasn’t really paying off. I asked Jonathan for his advice, and the way he coached me and helped me was utterly transformative.”
Angela recalls how, in a moment of exhaustion and frustration, she confided in Jonathan that she simply didn’t know what to do. Despite feeling “stupid and embarrassed” by this moment of vulnerability, Angela was surprised to find that Jonathan not only made time to listen, but also gave her some life-changing advice:
“Jonathan was so kind and authentic, and was present with exactly what I was going through. He hung with me for about 20 minutes, coaching me on how to structure my business to incorporate facilitation. He kicked my ass. He believed in what I could do, and he refused to let me just accept what was happening. With his advice, I became a little bit more fearless. The next day, I completely redesigned my business.”
Angela describes this moment as “the click.” She created a clear roadmap for her business, making facilitation a core part of the services she offered to her coaching clients. With this, her confidence grew, and she found that was able to authentically brand and present herself as an expert facilitator—and her business literally tripled as a result.
“I went to a conference called the Founder Summit in Mexico City, and I had my facilitation helmet on. I connected with founders and, being a coach and a facilitator, I had what they needed. Founders dream of growing their teams and using facilitation, so I became the coach they wanted to hire. My business took off on the basis that, when you work with me, you’re not just getting a coach. You’re also getting an expert facilitator. That tripled my business in a very short space of time.”
It’s evident that Jonathan’s words of advice had a major impact on Angela’s outlook, giving her the conviction to take her business to the next level. Interestingly, Angela also credits that 20-minute conversation with helping her to make her business not just profitable, but extremely lucrative.
“I made $96,000 with one mastermind program. This is what Jonathan coached me on."
"I had 12 spots available, and I was originally selling them for $6,000 each. Then, at the last moment, I was like ‘What would Jonathan Courtney do?’ I raised the price to $8,000. Since then, I’ve sold four founder coaching packages at $9k each. It’s just not stopping, and it’s all because of that conversation with Jonathan. That conversation changed the course of my career.”
That’s the beauty of Workshopper Master. It’s not just about teaching certain skills; it’s also about recognizing the value in workshop facilitation and learning how to turn it into a profitable, rewarding endeavor.
At this point, I’m curious to hear Angela’s thoughts about the course itself—and, to my delight, she gives a pretty glowing review.
“All of the tools and concepts taught on the course are so good. I love how everything is so organized, because when I need to grab something quickly, or I get an email from a client asking me to prepare something last-minute, I can run over to the portal, open the recipe book, and grab what I need. It’s the most comprehensive product in terms of getting everything you need to run a great workshop.”
Now, for any aspiring or novice facilitators reading this, you might be wondering: How did Angela bridge the gap between becoming a newly-qualified facilitator and landing her first high-paying clients?
For Angela, the key was to be very specific—and explicit—about the value she would bring to each client:
“I was very clear and succinct, and I tailored my offering to their industry. I said to clients: ‘I’d like to come in and run a workshop. Here’s the benefit for you. This is what you’re going to get. I want to do this for people in real estate.’ I was also clear about what I would need in return: a testimonial within a week of the workshop ending, and photos I could use. I set up the value proposition really well, and from there, it was just go, go, go.”
It’s clear that, very early on in her coaching journey, Angela recognized the importance of finding a niche. Often, that’s the most challenging aspect for new facilitators; finding their USP and connecting with what clients need. As someone who has successfully carved out her niche in the coaching world, Angela has some very useful advice for others:
“First of all, finding your niche is as hard as it feels, so be compassionate with yourself about the struggle. Secondly, get very clear on what you value. Does it mean more to you to have higher revenue? Does it mean more to only be teaching workshops around a certain theme? Does it mean more to travel? Does it mean more to stay local? I think if people can identify the value within their lives that they can honor the most, it will direct their focus. For me, that was revenue, so I knew I had to get closer to the tech space. For others, that may not feel good. Find what you really value and follow that.”
Angela also makes the very good point that the first niche you pursue doesn’t have to be set in stone. The most important thing is to try it out and give it a shot. If it doesn’t feel right, you can change your mind. Those early days are about risk and experimentation and finding your facilitator feet.
“It takes a ton of courage to make a choice about your facilitation niche. Commit to it. Step into it. Give it everything. Then, if it doesn’t feel good once you’re in it, you can change your mind. The number one mistake people make is they spend so much time thinking about it and not enough time trying it. You can’t know if it’s the right fit for you unless you step into it. You have to take that first step, that first action—otherwise, you’re going to be in the exact same spot one year from now.”
That’s exactly the kind of courage we aim to instill in our Workshoppers, and it’s so inspiring to hear how Angela has taken that and run with it. I can’t wait to see where Angela takes her coaching business next—she tells me she would love to work in-house at a few different companies, coaching and facilitating teams for success:
“I just really want to be known as that coach who also does workshops and creates these dream teams. I really want to make a name for being able to serve founders and entrepreneurs at the highest level, because I’m able to help them and their teams deliver amazing results.”
From where I’m standing, it seems like Angela is well on her way to that goal! We’ll be watching this space. And, if you’re curious to see exactly what Angela offers as a coach and facilitator, check out her website here.
Interested in exploring what workshop facilitation could do for your career or business?