How Austin Church Attracts His Best Fit Coaching Clients with Partnerships

It’s the #1 question that stops people from buying your course or coaching services:

“Why should I trust you?”

Even if you’ve spent years building the PERFECT product…

A lack of trust will kill the sale before it has a chance to happen.

That’s why I want to tell you about Austin Church.

  • He is a coach and course creator
  • He helps freelancers find their most profitable (and joyful) work
  • He recently launched the “beta” version of a 6-week group coaching program priced at $1,500

Talk about a situation where trust is important.

You’re asking people to spend 6 weeks following your guidance in what is essentially a “test run” of a new product. And it’s not cheap!

Yet when Austin took a closer look at the people who purchased his beta offer, he noticed something interesting…

They weren’t people who had been following him since “the early days.”

They were all people who had recently discovered his business in a way that allowed him to build trust almost instantly.

  • One had attended a workshop Austin taught for a CPA who serves freelancers and online creators
  • Another came from a free workshop he led for his local Entrepreneur Center in Knoxville, TN
  • The other discovered him through a podcast he’d recently been interviewed on

In other words, they’d all discovered Austin through partnerships that allowed him to connect with other people’s audiences.

Why did that make such a massive difference? As he put it:

“All three of the folks who were willing to give me $1,500 had spent time with me in some form or fashion. They’d heard my voice or they’d seen my face,” he said. “How do you do emotional connections at scale? It’s partnerships.”

If you want to market your business in a way that allows prospects to form a genuine connection with you from the get-go, you need to watch my interview with Austin.

He talks through his approach, with specific tips for how you can apply the same strategy to attract more of your best fit clients:

Want My Team to Find a Perfect Partnership Lead for Your Business?
Click here to book a free Strategy Call—one of my in-house experts will study your business, hop on a call, and show you at least one partnership opportunity that could put your business in front of your ideal customers.

In this interview with Austin, you’ll see:

  • How Austin secured multiple “guest training” partnerships with an industry leader in his niche
  • His process for finding and getting interviewed on podcasts his ideal customers are listening to
  • The go-to followup email Austin has used to close multiple partnership pitches
  • How he uses partnerships to make “emotional connections at scale” and quickly build trust with his best prospects
  • And more!


Here’s a Full Breakdown of the Partnership Strategies Austin Is Using to Generate New Coaching Clients and Course Sales

To understand how Austin leverages partnerships to grow, it’s best to get a sense of how his business works at a high level. So let’s take a look!

His Businesses: Austin currently runs two businesses…

1. Balernum — A branding agency that helps ecommerce founders build real brands and stand out online.

Balernum sells branding packages ranging from about $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the project scope.

2. — Through his personal website, Austin sells coaching and an online course that help freelancers find their most profitable and joyful work (and have a record year).

On the coaching side, he recently launched a 6-week bootcamp priced at $1,500 (though he’s planning to raise it after the beta).

His course, Freelance Cake, is priced at $449.

How Austin Filled the Beta Launch of His Coaching Program via Partnerships

Even though Austin has tons of experience helping freelancers grow, he was still nervous to launch the beta of his new coaching bootcamp. He even sent in a video talking us through the emotions of preparing for the launch:

Like I mentioned earlier, the cool part is that all three of his beta program customers discovered Austin through partnerships. And they were all different!

Partnership #1 was a guest training he taught for a CPA who specifically serves the same type of customers as Austin (freelancers and online creators).

Sidenote: this is what we call a “shoulder niche”—people/companies who serve the same target audience you do, but in a different way. The partnership case study we did on Nick True has a killer example of this, too.

Partnership #2 was a free workshop he taught for a local organization, the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. As much as we focus on scouring the online world for partnerships, don’t overlook the opportunities available in your local area! The fact that you’re part of the same community gives you an instant connection.

Partnership #3 was an interview on a podcast called Hustle to Freedom—the exact kind of podcast Austin’s ideal clients would listen to (more details in a sec on how Austin found this podcast).

(By the way, I love that Austin’s interview on this podcast not only produced a coaching client, but also convinced the podcast host himself to hire Austin’s branding agency for a small project worth $3,500! This is the “halo effect” of partnerships in action.)

Again, each of these partnerships produced leads who eventually became customers as soon as Austin opened up the beta version of his coaching bootcamp.

They weren’t people who had been following him since the beginning. They weren’t people he had known for a long time. They were people who simply discovered Austin in a format that allowed him to form a deep connection with them almost instantly.

“I’m excited about partnerships because it’s one way to help people who don’t know you make an emotional connection with you quickly,” he said.

Podcast Tip: If you’re looking for podcasts that your customer base listens to, try simply searching for topics that interest them in Apple Podcasts, or a podcast app like Overcast. Another favorite tactic of mine is to search for words related to the most common problems your customers typically have. For example, if you coach parents on navigating the college application process with their kids, you might search for things around scholarships. Make a list of the biggest problems your clients have and see what kinds of podcasts you can find around those topics.

Teaching other people’s audiences—whether it’s through live trainings/workshops/webinars or interviews—is an incredibly simple yet powerful way to keep your email list topped up with warm leads who trust you from the start.

The sooner you start lining up these opportunities, the sooner you can start growing from them.

How Austin “Stairstepped” His Way to Bigger and Better Partnerships with an Industry Leader

One of the coolest things about partnerships is that doing just one can often lead to multiple opportunities with a partner.

Like Austin’s partnership with Podia.

Podia is a software platform for building and managing your online course. Their audience is full of online creators and the freelancing types who make perfect clients for Austin. And he just so happened to have been a Podia customer—which gave him an easy way to reach out and ask to write a guest post for the Podia blog.

“If you know that you are the case study that they would love to have, show up and say, ‘I’m your case study. Can I share my story with your audience? I’d love to make you look good in the process,’” he said.

Austin turned his experience as a Podia customer into a guest post about launching his online course. It went live on the Podia blog in June 2020:

The guest post alone was a great opportunity to promote his business. For example, there are links to his course throughout the post:

He was also able to create a content upgrade for the post that helped build his email list:

But the best part about this guest posting partnership is what happened next.

A few days after the post went live, Len Markidan, Podia’s Chief Marketing Office, tweeted a link to it with some nice praise:

If you’re looking for an opportunity to collaborate with a company, one of their executives bragging on you is what we call a “foot in the door” situation. 🙂 And Austin pounced on it using one of the strategies we teach our clients.

He took a screenshot of the tweet and included it in an email to Len thanking him for the shoutout. He also asked if Podia would be interested in having him teach an online workshop for their audience. It was an instant “yes.”

But the partnerships with Podia didn’t stop there.

The workshop went so well that Podia invited Austin to participate as a featured speaker in their upcoming virtual summit, Create 2020:

This meant a few things:

  • Austin got to get in front of yet another large online audience of his best fit clients
  • Podia actually paid him to speak during the summit (his first paid speaking gig)
  • He got featured alongside other thought leaders in his space, bringing him even more credibility and trust:

The impact of this kind of showcase for your business is immeasurable. But it all started with one small guest posting partnership. I like the way Austin put it:

“With partnerships, each ‘single’ earns your next ‘at bat,’ and eventually you’re going to hit a home run.”

Steal This Email Followup Tip the for Your Next Partnership Pitch

I’ve said before that you’ll land more partnerships from sending followup emails than you will from your initial outreach emails. So anytime I see a creative way of following up I take note.

Did you catch the strategy Austin mentioned in the interview?

Instead of following up with a typical, “Hey, just wanted to make sure you saw this!” reply, Austin sent the following email to two podcasts he hadn’t heard back from after the initial pitch:

The results?

Both podcasts responded the same day saying that now was the perfect time to move forward with the interview.

“It just goes to show you will miss out on your best opportunities if you are squeamish or overly self conscious [about pitching],” Austin said. “Silence is not rejection.”

What If I Found You 100 Partnership Leads and Helped You Get Featured to Their Audience?

I’d love to show you what kinds of partnerships could be possible for your business.

In our 1:1 program, Unfair Advantage, we help coaches, course creators, and consultants use this simple approach to marketing to attract their dream clients and customers.

  • We identify 100 ideal partners for your business
  • We show you how to pitch them on featuring you (and even write your first pitch for you)
  • We even guarantee that you’ll land at least 5 partnerships. So there’s no risk.

Want us to take a closer look at your business and find you a partnership lead in real time?

Click here to schedule a free Strategy Call now. <<<

Here’s what will happen next:

  • You’ll share a few quick details about your business
  • We’ll take a look “under the hood” before our call with you
  • We’ll find at least one partnership lead for you during the call—AND show you how it could generate leads and sales for your business.
  • If it seems like a good fit, we’ll also give you the details on Unfair Advantage—so you can see what it would be like to have my team in the trenches with you, personally helping you land partnerships for your business.

All you have to do is pick a time that works best right here and we’ll call you then.