Earning as an Online Coach From a Beach-Lover’s Paradise
When it comes to battling through tough times, life coach Mike Sassorossi has more experience than most. The former gym owner lost a home and job and endured divorce and cancer. But he’s emerged from those experiences stronger, and today shares the lessons he’s learned with clients, including front-line U.S. healthcare workers, from his home in tropical Costa Rica.
Now in his late 50s, Mike grew up in the Chicago suburbs but lived a large part of his early adult life in California. “I couldn’t handle the cold,” he says.
A natural salesman, he admits to getting caught up in the greed of the 1980s. “I did a lot of stupid things and I lost my business and my house,” he says. “My wife and I had to move into her friend’s basement in Boston. I had to start from scratch again.”
On the East Coast, Mike began a career in the fitness industry and turned his life around. By 2003, he’d opened his own gym and personal fitness studio in Boston. He was living in a nice home and raising a couple of children with his wife. Then in 2011-2012, he went through a painful divorce and was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
During this time, he started a relationship with a woman who dreamed of moving to Costa Rica. In 2013, Mike was cancer free and they twice visited the Gold Coast in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province. “I fell in love with the country. Plus, it didn’t snow,” he laughs.
Mike made the decision to move to Costa Rica and started scouting for a business to fund his new life overseas. In January 2014, his real estate agent called and told him about a gym and yoga studio available for rent in the coastal town of Tamarindo. He and his partner signed the lease and moved to the tropical resort destination.
The fitness industry in Costa Rica was not what Mike was expecting, however. “I had not done my market research. I thought I would make a large profit on personal training, but that turned out to be only about 1% of our revenue. So we scrambled to put together a spa,” he says.
The spa ended up generating over 60% of the profit from the business. But after two-and-a-half years in Costa Rica, Mike’s partner wanted to go back to the States. “When we went to sell the business, we found out there were problems with the lease,” he says. “She left and I stayed to eventually sell.”
When Mike returned to Boston in 2018, he started his new career as an online life coach. He felt he had lots of life lessons to share, and having spent years running brick-and-mortar operations, he was enticed by the low startup costs. All you need to be an online coach is a decent computer, web hosting, and high-speed internet, so monthly outgoings can total as little as $150 to $350.
As an online coach, Mike promotes his trademarked Conative Transformational Development process, which aims to help clients foster a healthy body, spirit, and mind through techniques such as intentional guided meditation, journaling, and visualization.
By the start of this year, Mike had firmly established his online coaching business. With his income now fully portable, he had the freedom to live and work from anywhere, and he realized the place he most wanted to be was Costa Rica. He longed to get back to swimming in the tropical waters and exploring the spectacular natural countryside on his motorcycle, so in January, he relocated to Costa Rica for the second time.
In these unprecedented times of COVID-19, Mike has been busy since his return coaching some of those on the front lines. “I am working with four different nurses and two doctors. We work on changing worrying thoughts—replacing fear with faith and positivity. I help them focus on doing everything they can do to perform to the best of their ability,” he says.
Mike is predicting that demand for life coaching services will increase in the wake of this crisis and he’s expecting to double the size of his business this year. “The virus is a common denominator in people’s desire to reprioritize their lives,” he says. “My clients are asking: ‘What is important in life? What can I do to improve myself? Where am I going to be mentally and physically?’ I tell them this is an excellent time to start working on yourself. I am seeing fear, but I am also seeing real growth.”
Written by Kathleen Evans