Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Multimillionaire Coach Shares 8 Tips for Running a Coaching Business

Ivanna Chubbuck chats with Entrepreneur Network partner Kelsey Humphreys on how to be an effective coach, grow a massive coaching business and achieve success in both business and life.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You may not know of Ivanna Chubbuck, but you have heard of her students. Her clientele, such as Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt and Halle Barry, have won multiple Academy Awards, Emmys, Golden Globes and Tony Awards. She is the multimillionaire coach and founder behind the Ivana Chubbuck Studio. In addition to her personal one-on-one coaching, her Los Angeles-based studio has 16 ongoing classes, and Chubbuck regularly facilitates classes overseas. "The celebrity whisperer" has been featured in The New York Times, People, USA Today, Paris Vogue and various television shows in the U.S. and abroad.

Chubbuck is also the creator of the cutting edge and widely adopted Chubbuck Technique which is taught by accredited teachers in over 16 countries. Her book explaining the technique, The Power of the Actor, is an international bestseller. Her methods spark change in the participants' lives, not just their work, and have been so effective for so many that Chubbuck has recently begun facilitating corporate workshops in addition to acting intensives.

I was excited to get to interview a member of Hollywood royalty about how to be an effective coach, grow a massive coaching business and achieve success in both business and life. Here are my top eight lessons from our conversation.

Figure out what you enjoy.

As you know as a reader of Entrepreneur, finding a niche is vital in business. Once you realize you want to be a coach or consultant, narrow down on your favorite topics. Chubbuck had great advice for figuring things out.

"When things are really interesting to you, time goes really fast. But, it's the same amount of time but it feels really fast, so an hour becomes a minute and an hour could also feel like 10 hours, depending on your enthusiasm, your passion and your connection to whatever it is you're doing ... when I was teaching actors, the time went by super-fast, and when I was acting it went so slow," she said. She added that even her 12-hour intensive sessions fly by. Ask yourself when time speeds up for you as a guide for where to place your focus.

Be willing to sacrifice.

Chubbuck explained that for years she "lived small." She didn't expect to get paid large fees at first, since her struggling actor clients were surviving on ramen noodles, sometimes even living out of their cars. But money, to her, was the gravy. The work itself was the steak, so she didn't mind the sacrifices.

"I skipped meals, I walked to places to save on gas. I mean, I've lived very small, and I was fine with that because I was following my passion."

Her first big break was about 10 years into coaching, but before that she explained it was "a slow and steady incline."

Be willing to let go.

Chubbuck's method is now a certified program for other coaches. She has coaches and schools teaching her technique all over the world. How did she achieve that kind of scale? "You have to give up control."

You may not want to license your materials, but if you want to grow your practice beyond what you alone can coach each month, for example through self-study online programs or hiring support staff to take on some of the load, you're going to have to give up some control.

Chubbuck also mentioned the importance of letting go of what others think. She said she would consider this one of her keys to success. "Don't care what people think, you just keep plugging along and follow your passion. Your passion is infectious .... You may have a down time, but you'll get back on top, and I've seen this happen a whole bunch of times."

She also advises that you let go of your specific path to success. She initially thought she was going to be an actress, but listened to her intuition and stayed open to the possibilities. "If you contain yourself in any shape or form -- to a certain aspect of things that you think that you want to do, or that you [believe is] the dream -- you've also contained other things from coming in. You ... basically took away the possibility of success."

Capitalize on momentum.

"It'd been 10 years before it got to me, and all of a sudden Halle Berry says my name at the Academy Awards and it went 'Booooooom!'" Chubbuck recalled the frenzy of business after that night. She knew she needed to capitalize on what was happening, so she wrote her book. I went, 'Now I'm gonna do something with that.'"

Chubbuck's book spent weeks on the Los Angeles Times Top 10 Bestsellers List and has now been translated into 12 languages. In my personal experience growing my brand, building up The Pursuit, getting more speaking and writing opportunities, etc., this tactic has been critical. The second you catch a break, ask yourself how can I ride this wave? How can I make the most of this? How can I use this to take myself to the next level?

Talk with people, not at them.

I asked Chubbuck what she believed caused coaches to fail with their students or as a business. She answered that too often coaches take a "mountain top" stance, shouting down to everyone what they need to do. But, no one likes being talked down to. She also shared the importance of vulnerability with students.

"If they feel that you, too, have the same issues, all of a sudden they feel more open, not alone ... as a team, we are going to learn ... both of us are going to grow as a result of this relationship," she said. "The other thing: Never judge."

Chubbuck went on to share that she sees the coach/student relationship as a symbiotic one. "When I feed them and I see greatness happen out of them, you know what, that feeds me."

Embrace your business sense.

As an artist who coaches artists, she has heard the "creative" excuse many times. She says that this excuse is denying one's business sense, which most people can find and improve. Personally, I started my career as a musician and graphic designer; I have learned the value -- and fun -- in strengthening the "left side" of my brain. Chubbuck embraced both sides of herself early on.

"I start off with this concept of how to make the business plan work, and I go, Well, this part's working, but this part's not .... I'm gonna change the part that's not working ... it's a creative process if you choose to look at it that way. This is my business cap, now I take that off and put my creative cap on. And I like them both, because they both connect the dots together for me."

Never stop learning.

Want to be a millionaire coach? How many books are you reading? How many courses are you taking? Actually, in today's information-saturated world, maybe the better question is, are you regularly absorbing and implementing new things? Like almost everyone I interview, Chubbuck places a high importance on learning and personal development.

"Educators should always learn ... if you stop learning in your process, and [this is for any and every job] if you stop learning then you stop living. Living is all about education. Raising the bar, meeting the bar, raising the bar."

Choose to overcome.

I was inspired when I researched Chubbuck's methods because all of her work focuses on not the hardships or the feelings, but on the overcoming. As entrepreneurs, we understand how devastating setbacks can be not just to the bottom line, but to our morale as well.

"You have a choice to make. [When bad things happen you can] say, This is something that I'm going to self-destruct with, bad things always happen to me, be defeated by it, and stop. [Or you could say], You know what? I'm gonna win in spite of it, because people said I couldn't."

She shared that most of us face many bad things in life, but they aren't all bad if you choose to see the circumstances as fuel.

"It's fuel to inspire you ... I'm not ever gonna let this happen again, and that person's never going to do that to me again, and this is how I'm going to succeed. Without retribution, without being mean or trying to get comeuppance, but just to prove them wrong."

Watch in-depth interviews with celebrity entrepreneurs on The Pursuit with Kelsey Humphreys

Related: 8 Tactics to Build a Multimillion-Dollar Publishing Business

Entrepreneur Network is premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical and provides partners with distribution on as well as our apps on Amazon Fire, Roku and Apple TV.

Click here to become a part of this growing video network.


3 Ways Your Brain Reacts to Uncertainty

Here's Ben Angel's three-step plan to control your emotions and achieve your goals.

How a Throwaway Joke Became an Award-Winning Ad Campaign

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, Creative Director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners Tristan Graham and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss the birth of a very funny (and impactful) commercial.

How This Amazing Campaign Succeeded in Changing a Brand's Perception and People's Lives at the Same Time

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Group Creative Director Tony Jones gives the heartwarming story of how Operation Santa finally took off.

How this Tech Entrepreneur, Biohacker, and Author is Helping Women with Their Periods

The founder and CEO of Flo Living on the future of biohacking and hormonal healthcare.

Duce Raymond of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ on Using Social Media Like a Boss

Interview with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Catering Culinary Director Duce Raymond about his fresh approach to social media content marketing and huge results with short video for the already world-famous brand.

The Key to Effectively Communicating Important Messages Is All About Simplicity

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, award-winning Group Creative Director Giancarlo Rodas and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss distilling complex ideas down to a simple message.

How to Deliver a Serious Message Through Humor

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Creative Director David Stevanov explains how humor can be a storyteller's most effective tool.

This Successful Shark Tank Entrepreneur Shares His Latest Innovation

The Founder of Ooonimals, Club 44, and the OOO Studio Lab talks about his current projects and what you need to know about the risks and rewards that exist in the NFT space.

Brendan Sweeney of Popmenu on How Ego is the Root of All Evil

Interview with Popmenu CEO Brendan Sweeney about building a positive user experience, the state of restaurant technology, and the importance of providing answers.

Recession-Proof Your Mindset with Neuroscience

With top economists fearing a recession, award-winning author Ben Angel teaches how to recession-proof your mindset with neuroscience to manage stress levels.

How to Find Your "Oxygen Points" to Sustain and Grow Your Business, According to an Investment CEO

Entrepreneur Network Partner Ashley Crouch sits down with the CEO of Al Zarooni Emirates Investments, Dr. Adil Alzarooni.

How to Get Investment Funding for Your Business

Entrepreneur magazine's Editor-in-Chief Jason Feifer and Narya Partner Falon Donohue have a lively and informative conversation about securing the funding you need to launch your dream.

Keith Koo Explains How Angel Investors Prioritize Startup Funding Decisions

Entrepreneur Network Partner Ashley Crouch sits down with the Managing Partner of Guardian Insight Group and Angel Investor, Keith Koo.

Why this Popular Web3 Esports Game Was Designed with a Play-to-Earn Model

The Chief Product Officer of MonkeyLeague discusses his company, why monkeys are all the rage for NFTs and gaming, and his advice for developers.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.