Bonsai Review: A Perfect All-In-One Platform for Coaches or Overkill?

Coachilly Magazine
6 min readApr 28, 2023

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As a coach and business owner, you know that running a business is just as important as helping your clients achieve their goals. From scheduling appointments to sending invoices, managing client data, and hosting online courses, there is a lot that goes into running a successful coaching business. That’s where Bonsai comes in — a business platform designed specifically for coaches.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Bonsai, compare it to other business suites, and provide short use cases for when this tool could be useful for coaches.

Bonsai is an affiliate, so if you click on affiliate links, we may get compensated should you decide to purchase a plan with them.

Bonsai Platform Review Screenshot Dashboard

What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is a business platform designed for coaches, consultants, freelancers, and other self-employed professionals. It offers a suite of tools to help coaches manage their business more efficiently, including features like client management, invoicing, project tracking, contracts, and more.

One of the standout features is its user-friendly interface, which is easy to navigate and customize to fit your specific needs. The interface is also highly customizable, allowing coaches to create personalized proposals and contracts with their own branding, logos, and colors.

Bonsai’s Features + How It Compares Against Coaching Platforms

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key features of Bonsai and how they compare to other popular coaching platforms. We’re not comparing to every coaching software (we have done a comprehensive comparison) but have selected a few, namely Coaching.com, UpCoach, Paperbell, and Quenza:

  • Self-scheduling: Bonsai allows you to set up your availability and let potential clients book appointments directly through the platform. This feature is similar to Coaching.com, Paperbell, and UpCoach, but unlike Quenza, which doesn’t offer self-scheduling.
  • Invoicing and payments and other business finance tools: Bonsai allows you to create and send invoices directly from the platform, and clients can pay using a variety of payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, and ACH. It offers a lot more than that to manage business finances. Invoicing and payment features are also available on Coaching.com, and Paperbell, but not on UpCoach or Quenza.
  • Session notes: Bonsai allows you to take detailed notes on each client and meeting, which can be accessed later on for reference. This feature is similar to Coaching.com, Paperbell, and UpCoach, but Quenza doesn’t offer session note-taking.
  • Document sharing: Bonsai allows you to share documents with clients directly through the platform. This feature is also available on Coaching.com, Paperbell, and UpCoach, but not on Quenza.
  • Reusable forms: Bonsai allows you to create and reuse forms for things like client intake, assessments, and feedback. This feature is available on Coaching.com and UpCoach, but not on Quenza or Paperbell.
  • Online courses: Bonsai allows coaches to create and sell online courses directly through the platform. This feature is available on Coaching.com and UpCoach, but not on Quenza or Paperbell.
  • Group coaching: Bonsai allows coaches to host group coaching sessions and webinars directly through the platform. This feature is available on Coaching.com, Paperbell, and UpCoach, but not on Quenza.
  • Video calls: Bonsai allows coaches to host video calls directly through the platform, or use a Zoom integration to host calls. This feature is also available on Coaching.com (native or Zoom), Paperbell, UpCoach, and Quenza.

Coaching Use Cases for Bonsai

Here are a few short use cases for when Bonsai could be useful for coaches:

  • Streamline business operations. Use it to manage clients, schedule appointments, send invoices, run your accounting, etc. all from a single place and free up time for coaching sessions and course creation.
  • Create personalized proposals and contracts for each client. You can use their customizable proposal and contract templates to create professional-looking documents that reflect your branding and style.
  • Sell online courses. Use their online course creation tools to create and sell courses directly through the platform, without having to use multiple tools.
  • Host group coaching sessions and webinars. Use their group coaching feature to host sessions with multiple clients. That’s a more cost-effective solution than individual coaching sessions. And it’s nice that you don’t have to buy separate software for this as most other competitors require.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • User-friendly and highly customizable: allows personalizing your client management and business operations.
  • Popular white labeling (custom branding)
  • Wide range of features that provides a comprehensive solution for coaches:
  • client management,
  • invoicing, payments, accounting, expense tracking, and even time tracking for those who also offer consulting services,
  • online courses,
  • group coaching,
  • calendar automation,
  • CRM,
  • file sharing,
  • a time tracker (a great solution for freelancers or those of you offering consulting services) and project management features,
  • and a comprehensive template library for
  • coaching templates,
  • proposal templates,
  • contract templates,
  • invoice templates,
  • quote templates,
  • and many more (see screenshot below) to give you a head start.
  • Bonsai’s pricing plans are affordable and flexible, with options for coaches just starting out and those with established businesses.

Cons:

  • While Bonsai offers a lot of advanced features, some coaches may find that they don’t need all of them, and could be paying for features they don’t use (do you need a time tracking feature?) — although you might pay the same price elsewhere for fewer features.
  • It doesn’t offer a mobile app, which may be inconvenient for coaches who need to manage their business on-the-go.
  • It doesn’t offer a free plan, which could be a disadvantage for coaches who are just starting out and want to try out the features before committing to a paid plan.
Bonsai Platform Review Screenshot Template Library

Who is Bonsai Ideal For?

Bonsai is ideal for coaches who are looking for a comprehensive business suite that offers a wide range of features to help them manage their business more efficiently. It is particularly well-suited for coaches who want to create personalized proposals and contracts, sell online courses, host group coaching sessions, and webinars, and manage their clients and invoices in one place.

What Does Bonsai Cost?

Bonsai offers three pricing options:

Their Starter Plan is the most basic and inexpensive plan, starting at $17/month when billed annually. This plan offers all the basics such as client management, invoicing, payments, and expense tracking. This plan does not include any of the advanced features such as time tracking or project management.

The Professional Plan is their mid-tier offering and starts at $32/month when billed annually. This plan includes all the features of the Starter Plan, plus time tracking and project management.

The Business Plan is their most robust offering and starts at $52/month when billed annually. This plan includes all the features of the Professional Plan, as well as unlimited projects and clients.

The Bottom Line For Coaches

Overall, this is a powerful business suite.

It is a useful business suite for coaches, even without a hyper-specialization on coaching services like the other coaching platforms we review every year. It offers a wide range of features to help you manage your business more efficiently.

While it may not be the right fit for every coach, its customizable interface, comprehensive feature set and a massive library of templates, and affordable pricing plans make it a strong contender in the coaching software market.

It also stands out as the swiss-army knife of business software, allowing you to never leave this all-in-one tool while using it for all your task management, business management, etc. using powerful features like accounting features, management of business expenses, and popular tools like custom client intake forms, scheduling tools that integrate with your Google Calendar (and others) to automate your business from end to end.

You could potentially ditch multiple tools you use, such as your accounting software, calendar software, etc., and reduce your monthly cost substantially. Woohoo. This reduction alone may be a time saver since every bill you have to pay will have to be saved and matched in your expense report before tax time. Just saying.

If you’re a coach looking for a well-rounded all-in-one platform to help you streamline your business operations and provide a better client experience, Bonsai is definitely worth considering.

This article was first published on coachilly.com.

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