David Henzel, Founder of UpCoach, discusses their transformative journey from a DIY coaching course to a thriving platform with a 93% completion rate. The strategic partnerships, particularly with influencer Todd Herman, played a key role in the early success of UpCoach. Boasting a customer base of 5,000 with a mix of one-time and recurring paying users, UpCoach’s top-of-funnel strategies include collaborations with coaches, podcast launches, and SEO efforts.
Here are the key talking points,
- UpCoach achieved a remarkable 93% completion rate through a shift to core-based coaching.
- Early success attributed to strategic partnerships, particularly with influencer Todd Herman.
- The platform, priced at $39 and featuring a freemium option, targets coaches, focusing on smaller coaching organizations.
- Current customer base includes 5,000 coaches, with a mix of one-time and recurring paying customers.
- Top-of-funnel strategies involve partnerships with other coaches, podcast launches, and SEO efforts.
- Upcoming plans include enhancing features, improving ease of use, and launching an app marketplace.
- CEO David Hensel’s personal journey from a disruptive student to running multiple agencies with 500 employees.
- Future aspirations for UpCoach centered around product growth and continued impact in the coaching space.
You can also watch this episode on youtube here,
When you start out as a new company or partnering up with somebody who's really known in a, in a, in a, in a market makes it very easy. You know, it's like, Oh, Todd's involved. This stuff must be good. Like, uh, was in the beginning, something that really drove us a lot of users, just his networkUpendra Varma:
Hello everyone. Welcome to the B2B SaaS podcast. I'm your host Upendra Verma and today we have David Hensel with us. David here is the CEO of a company called UpCoach. David also runs almost three to four more companies, uh, which I'm not going to name here, but he runs a link building agency. He's got a sales development agency and all of it. Right. So yeah, excited to have you here, David. Welcome to the show.David Henzel:
Thanks for having me.Upendra Varma:
right. So David, so for this interview, right, so we'll stick to, you know, talking about UpCoach, right? So what does UpCoach as a platform do and why customers pay you money?David Henzel:
So I'll put you through the history of UpCoach. Um, I have a coaching program called managing happiness, where I help people to run their lives the same way you run a successful business, defining mission, vision, values, and goals, and all that jazz. And initially it was a DIY course and I had a 7 percent completion rate. And this was really bugging me because I was doing this to have impact, not necessarily to make money. Um, and it was bugging me that 97. People of 100 don't complete the course. And I thought my course must suck. But then I looked into it and 7 percent on the DIY was actually a good completion rate. And then I dug in further and thought like, what can I do to really make sure this information gets into people's heads and people actually use it? And so I started a core based coaching where you, you know, it's a mixture of video courses, some homework, and then zoom meetings. With small cohorts, and this has been working like a charm to date. I have a 93 percent completion rate from seven to 93. And, um, but it was very cobbled together with lots of different, um, apps that I've been using and certain things were not there. And so I asked the CTO of another business of mine, um, which is an on premise email marketing solution. And, um, he built me starting out with the group habit tracker. Cause I'm a big believer in positive peer pressure. So we built a transformation software. It's a software for coaches that helps you to do one on one and group coaching, but with an extreme focus on transformation. So we actually get people to, yeah, transform their lives.Upendra Varma:
And like who you're selling these, this particular product to and like, how do you price them?David Henzel:
It's priced, um, per coach, um, or per admin. That's like starting from I think 39. It's very funny having so many different companies. You're not in the day to day, I think starting at 39, but we just introduced the freemium. So if you want to check it out, go to upcoach. com and we mainly started to course, uh, to coaches initially I built it for. Bigger coaching organizations as, as mine, but now we switched to focus on building the features that small cultures need, like, um, billing and, um, accountancy, functionable calls, et cetera. So it's like a, you know, all in one solution.Upendra Varma:
And then like today, right? So how many customers are using your platform, right? So,David Henzel:
Uh, currently I think we have 5, 000, 5, 000 coaches in the platform.Upendra Varma:
Got it.David Henzel:
And it's not, it's not only coaches that are using it. Um, funny, funny enough, it's a very versatile platform. So you can, you have building blocks and you can kind of like piece together your, your program, your coaching program. And my other company started using it as a. Um, let's say control panel or login area for the agency, you know, so the customers log in and then they have, um, the communications happening in their chat and, um, form communication. And, you know, so it's, it's, it's pretty versatile, but main focus is.Upendra Varma:
all, are all these 5, 000 customers paying customers?David Henzel:
Yes, we, in the early days we ran a Absu deal, so I don't know, like, I think like 2000 or so are, uh, I mean, paid once and, you know, and yeah.Upendra Varma:
So, soDavid Henzel:
For transparency,Upendra Varma:
2000, so I'm just trying to understand all of, are all of these recurring customers or like most of them are from your app somebody that they payDavid Henzel:
no, uh, like the, the, the majority is, um, not regular paying customers.Upendra Varma:
Okay. So the rest of them are, you know, sort of, you know, regular recurring recurring paying customers. Right.David Henzel:
Yes, correct.Upendra Varma:
what you would quantify. Right. So, so yeah, I mean, are you comfortable sharing with me right in terms of, in terms of approximate revenue. Right. So like of what, all right,David Henzel:
It's like a general, uh, rule of thumb buyer. I don't like to get, get intoUpendra Varma:
Sure. Sure. Sure. So I'm just trying to ask because I just want to understand your go to, go to market motion, but we'll get, get to that anyways. Right? So it's apart from AppSumo, right? So what have you, what have you been doing right so far to sort of, you know, in terms of strictly from a top of funnel perspective, where you, where are all of these coaches finding your product? So what's beenDavid Henzel:
So what I like doing since I'm, I'm not an expert coach and when you go into a new niche, um, being, you know, a nobody in the coaching space, you know, I've been doing, I've been coaching my employees for a long time and like kind of doing my thing. But what I like doing is for a new business that I start to like to find a, let's say, poster child or like a, you know, somebody that's really known. So, uh, I partnered up with Todd Herman. He wrote the book, the alter ego effect. He's a. Rockstar coach, he's been coaching for 25 years. He sold two successful company, uh, coaching companies. He's coached, I don't know, 80 Olympians, lots of like, you know, uh, big name. Actually, he, uh, helped Kobe to come up with the black Mamba alter ego, you know? So he's like, he's a real rockstar. So partnering up with him. Um. When you start out as a new company or partnering up with somebody who's really known in a, in a, in a, in a market makes it very easy. You know, it's like, Oh, Todd's involved. This stuff must be good. You know, for us, like a coach never heard of David Henson. So, um, this is like, Like, uh, was in the beginning, something that really drove us a lot of users, just his network and, um,Upendra Varma:
and what happened after that, right? So how are you driving your leads today? So what's happening, what channels have been working for you?David Henzel:
in a foreign place. So we, we work with other coaches, coaches, coaches that, uh, are, um, you know, they, we do launches with them and they promote us in their, in their funnels and, you know, or we have taught join webinars that they're doing with their audiences, you know, kind of providing value. And like, it's not a hard pitch of up coach. It's just like, you know, providing value. Um, and then this is how we, how we went people, other things. We have a podcast that we just launched with Todd, you know, interviewing like very high profile, other cultures. Um, and SEO, you know, since I have a link building agency and SEO agency like this, it's always like part of my, my strategy.Upendra Varma:
All right. So David, so one last question, right? Before we, we, we sort of really understand about what you've been doing so far in life. Right. I'd say you've, you've done a lot of things, right? So just what's, what's the, what's the not start here, right? With respect to, you know, upcoaching. So what you aiming at, what's the next big milestone you're sort of aiming, aiming forDavid Henzel:
The next big milestone in terms of product or in terms of vision of the companyUpendra Varma:
Yeah. So a combination of all of it, right? So in terms of product, what is it in terms of revenue, what are you looking at? And in terms of, you know, overall long term vision, what are you looking at?David Henzel:
So in terms of revenue, I'll keep this to myself, uh, but in terms of product and we have a long feature list this year, we want to focus on making it easier, um, for the smaller coach, you know, kind of like to catch them when they're young. Idea, um, to ma make it easy and kind of build the table stakes that they need. 'cause a larger culture organization, they don't need um, uh, a billing integration because they have a billing department. They work with enterprise clients that just like sentiment invoice versus like a smaller culture needs these features or, um, so we we're building these missing features and we're making, we increasing the US build the ease of use of a platform. 'cause it's a very powerful tool. So you have like lots of things you can. Configure and this can be overwhelming for, for people that are not that, you know, not, not nerdy with glasses, you know, so, uh, and so we're just like making, making this easier and we launched a, uh, we're about to launch an app marketplace where you can build your apps on app coach. So if you have an idea for coaching app, if you want to integrate your solution into app coach, because we have this building blocks inside of the, uh, inside of the platform. I can't build, so I see, see, like we're the Shopify for the coaching space. And then you can build your apps and then shop for marketplace. So that's, that's what's, what's comingUpendra Varma:
All right. So now I want to understand your background and get a sense of, you know, how you reached here. Right? So, so I see that you run almost three successful agencies across the board, right? I could see multiple, multiple things happening at a time. Just talk about that story, right? So how did you end up starting three agencies and how big are these today? Just for viewers.David Henzel:
So since I'm, you know, in terms of headcount, the portfolio of my companies has around 500 employees. That's kind of like the, um, where we're currently at. And, um, I'll just give you my, my life story, very succinct. I went to 14 different schools. I got kicked out everywhere. I always had a problem with authority. And then at some point I was really lost in life. Didn't know what to do with my life. And then I found. Entrepreneurship, a friend of mine said like, Hey man, you go with computers. How about we start a business? I'm like, yeah, sure. I have nothing else going on. So we went through it. And then I discovered entrepreneurship. And so it's pretty much thing had a few different businesses sold one in Germany. I lived in Germany back then. And I was really drawn to America because I saw the startup ecosystem in America. And, you know, this was like not happening inUpendra Varma:
the company that you sold, right? Was that an agency?David Henzel:
No, this was an e commerceUpendra Varma:
Okay. EDavid Henzel:
launched an e commerce business in the early before it was cool. Uh, and it was a funny enough, it was one of my customers of my IT consulting company was selling Shisha Nargile. Hookah, you know, Egyptian water pipes. And he's like, Hey man, I don't know the tech stuff. I'd love to launch an e commerce business. Can we do this together? And he was so persistent and annoying that just did it to shut him up. But then it really took off. So, so I focused on this one and it's also businesses are sold to get the money, to get my investor visa to the United States. And, um, so yeah, I moved, moved to Los Angeles and co founded MacCDN, the content delivery network. And we had a really good exit in 2016. We sold the business.Upendra Varma:
Thanks, David. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.undefined:
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