Online Scheduling App for Coaches: How to choose a scheduling tool

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The Life Coach's Tech Roadmap

The only 5 pieces of tech a coach needs to set up an online business without overwhelm.

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Hey there

It’s Jennie Lakenan, certified life coach & consultant for your web design strategy needs. Over the last handful of years I’ve designed dozens of websites for coaches. My mission is to get more coaching into the world and help elevate the quality of life of humans at large by delivering expert custom website design and strategy to coaches.

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The Life Coach's Tech Roadmap

The only 5 pieces of tech a coach needs to set up an online business without overwhelm.

I often gets asked which online scheduling app for coaches that I recommend. In this post, I’ll share my top two scheduling tools. I’ll go over the pros and cons of each, and let you decide which is best for you.

When online appointment scheduling turns sour…

You want to make scheduling easy for your website visitors.

You don’t want to require them to send you a message first.

Because then what usually happens is you do the back and forth with 5, 8, 10 emails, trying to find a time that works for you both.

ARGH. Isn’t there an online scheduling app for coaches that makes the appointment process easy?

If it takes too much effort, they may just give up and call it quits on trying to schedule an appointment with you. We can’t have that!

If they’re ready to schedule with you right away, then your website should just make it easy to click a button and pick a time that works for them.

But where do you start picking a scheduling tool for your coaching business?

There are so many options. The pricing and features pages are confusing with everything they include (or leave out)!

First, realize you don’t have to use an online appointment scheduling tool.

It’s possible to make do at first without one.

A scheduling tool’s purpose is to automate a part of your coaching business process that can get time consuming and annoying.

Having a scheduling tool is also easier for clients because they can pick a time that’s convenient for them from your schedule.

I recommend having one, but don’t get stuck on it. Just keep moving forward and implement when you can.

What this post isn’t about:

This post is specifically about appointment scheduling tools, not about CRMs that include a scheduling component.

Along with scheduling apps, I sometimes get asked about CRMs (stands for Customer Relationship Management system).

A CRM is basically a technology for managing all your business’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.

It helps you improve your relationships with clients by organizing all the information you have about them in a central place.

Examples of popular CRMs are vCita and 17 Hats (though I don’t necessarily recommend one, I haven’t researched enough yet).

I bring this up because often these CRMs include a scheduling component in them.

My opinion on CRMs is to wait to invest in one until you know exactly what features you want in one.

Take some time to get into your business, set up your processes, and figure out which tasks annoy you.

Then educate yourself and find a CRM that will automate those tasks so you can spend time doing what you love.

If you jump into a CRM without knowing your business well, you might end up paying for something that’s more than you need.

You’ll complicate your own process, and there’s a high likelihood you’ll spend more time than save it down the dark corners of a hefty CRM.

Bottom line: you can make do.

Just like this guy did:

Man on a plastic chair sled

Yes, that is literally a guy using a plastic garden chair as a wagon. If he could make do, then you probably can too without needing a complex CRM set up as you start your coaching business.

This post is for those of you that want to know what tool (that’s specifically for scheduling) to use. Now, onto the details of what schedulers I recommend.

If you want a free and minimal scheduling tool, go with Calendly.

If you want a solid free scheduling app, Calendly is the best option.

It’ll sync with your Google Calendar, even with the free option (you have to pay for this on most scheduling tools).

The minimal layout is aesthetically pleasing, and it’s quick and simple to set up.

It’s the scheduling tool I currently use. I like that it’s easy for my clients to schedule an appointment through a link I send them.

I don’t like that you can only have one kind of appointment with a free Calendly account.

If you want some clients to be able to schedule a mini session, and others to be able to schedule an hour coaching call, then you’ll need to upgrade.

Also, if you want to set up a custom confirmation page after someone schedules an appointment, you have to have their Pro (most expensive) plan.

In short, Calendly is quick to set up if you need something basic (as in one type of appointment).

But if you want more options in a scheduling tool, I recommend this option…

If you want a slightly more feature robust appointment scheduling tool, go with Acuity.

Acuity offers a lot of features which makes it a favorite with a lot of coaches. It has more integrations, keeps better track of schedulee information, and more.

I’ve worked with Acuity in my clients’ website projects, and I really like it. It still lacks a few features that Calendly offers (like custom confirmation pages), but you win some and you lose some.

Acuity is a little more involved to set up than Calendly, though still pretty straightforward.

With Acuity, you can set up as many appointment types as you need to on a single calendar.

You can also integrate intake forms into your website, and clients can make payments right through your calendar.

It starts around $10/month, so pretty reasonable in price, too.

In short, Acuity has a bit more functionality in the scheduling .

It’s my preferred option for my clients because I can embed their calendar right on their website and tweak it to match their website aesthetic so they stay consistent with their branding.

I can also pick and choose which appointments show up in a cohesive way, depending on what types of clients will be viewing it (potential clients scheduling a mini session, for example, don’t need to see the paid coaching call option).

I think if you’re going to pay, you should go with Acuity because it’s more robust than Calendly.

Hope that’s helpful!


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