- What is Life Coaching?
- What’s Your Why?
- What Is Your Expertise?
- What is Your Coaching Method?
- Be Able to Prove Your Credibility
- Certification Programs
- More on the International Coaching Federation
- Name Your Business
- Setting Up Your Business Legally
- Decide on a Business Location
- Establish Fees and Payment Methods
Revenue made in the life coaching business is huge. Like in the billions with a “B” huge. According to Market Research, revenue is expected to climb to over 1.34 billion by 2022.
If you want to be a part of this growing industry, now is the time to go for it.
And by going for it, I mean take time to understand the industry, get the right credentials, create a business plan, and take other necessary steps to help you rock your career goals.
I have created the master list of steps that can help you start a life coaching business. Through a lot of research, I picked out and highlighted the steps that can’t be skipped.
What I learned is that starting a life coaching business starts way before you begin coaching. Before you do anything, you need to understand what it means to be a life coach.
What is Life Coaching?
Life coaching is often confused with other fields that may seem similar, but after investigation, they have completely different models.
Consulting is one career that is typically confused with coaching. Consultants have experience in a field. In fact, they are considered experts in specific industries. Based on their expertise, they make recommendations to others, individuals or groups.
Essentially, they are advising others to decide based on their personal experience. Coaches never push their ideas or expertise on a client. Instead, they help clients organize their own ideas into strategies that will help them reach the goals they have set.
Counselors are also confused with coaches. Counselors or therapists help clients with mental health issues that may be preventing them from being successful. They look at the past to make changes for the future. Coaches spend very little time in the past. They are solutions-oriented and help the client stay focused on the future.
Athletic Coaching is what some people think immediately when they hear the word “coach”. They have an image of you in cheap polyester shorts with a whistle hanging around your neck, yelling at athletes. It’s too bad athletic coaches today aren’t utilizing characteristics of life coaches.
Life coaches work to empower clients through guidance, inspiration, and strategy to help them improve professionally, personally, or both.
Once you understand the role of a life coach, it’s important you discover the reasons you want to enter this field of service.
What’s Your Why?
No matter what your reason, you can be a life coach. Even if your only reason is to make more money, you can be a life coach. However, the amount of success you reach will greatly depend on your “why”.
Has it always been a goal of yours to motivate and inspire others to reach their goals? Do you see success as helping someone overcome their fears so they can have a better life? Do you get excited when encouraging and empowering others?
Or, do you just want to make a little extra cash?
To be a great life coach, you need to be able to invest in your clients, even if they haven’t paid you on time or if they are late for their appointments. You need to invest in them so they can invest in themselves.
Reasons not to be a coach? To find a new friend or romantic partner. You lost your job and need a quick replacement. You like to talk and give advice. It sounds easy. You have been told you would make a good coach by family and friends.
Okay, so there are many more reasons to not become a life coach. But let’s focus on the reasons you should become a coach.
- You have a proven track record of success in a specific field and want to share your knowledge with others.
- You feel you have been called into the industry like it is your purpose.
- You enjoy seeing others succeed.
- You want to help others reach their goals.
- You want to make money doing what you love.
- You are non-judgmental, creative, objective and sincere.
- You are passionate, empathetic, and want to make a difference.
You will be an excellent life coach if your focus is on assisting others. You want to build their esteem, help them overcome hurdles blocking them from success, and improve their skills, transforming them into leaders.
Once you have discovered you “why” and are all in, you can start focusing on what type of coaching you can do. This is based on your expertise.
What Is Your Expertise?
It would be silly to become a life coach to accountants if your expertise is in manufacturing. I’m not sure you would get hired to be a personal life coach for a celebrity if you have only worked in the information technology industry.
To find your expertise, answer these questions: What are you great at doing? What jobs have you excelled at for the longest time? Have you mentored someone in a field? In which field do you stay up to date and continue to practice your skills? What skills come naturally to you? Which topics are easy for you to discuss and promote?
These questions can help you start a list of coaching areas in which you feel confident coaching others. Once you decide on your area of expertise, start examining which type of coaching method you will use.
What is Your Coaching Method?
When you picture yourself coaching, do you see yourself sitting on the sidelines of the NFL game providing inspiration to the star quarterback? Or do you see yourself teaching a group of corporate leaders how to motivate staff?
How you envision your delivery can help you decide on a coaching method. Below are a few forms of delivery. Be honest with yourself and pick the methods that will help you shine.
- One on one, just two of you working together always
- Groups, either small or large groups
- Videos that can be sold and distributed worldwide
- Podcasts, weekly recordings on the topic of your choice
- Blogging, daily or weekly articles on your website, written on topics of your choice
- Online Courses that can be purchased by people worldwide
- eBooks on a topic of your choice, that can be produced and sold on sites like Amazon
- Motivational seminars or webinars
So now you have determined you want to be a life coach, you have decided on a method and you know you’re “why”. It’s still not time to start promoting your services. There are still a few things you can do to increase your chances of success.
The first, show you are credible.
Be Able to Prove Your Credibility
When you start promoting your coaching business, you want to be able to prove you are the right person for the job. Potential clients will ask you, “why are you the right person to coach me?”
Your answer can be the difference between getting the job or getting asked to leave.
Credibility supports your reputation as a life coach. Credibility means you have proof you can do the job. It means you have practiced your coaching skills. It means you are an authority in your area of expertise.
Credibility can be broken into parts:
- Credibility can be built by earning it through authority, trust, respect, competence, being accountable, being loyal and disciplined.
- Credibility can be built by the history of your successes. This can mean previous clients or references, education in your field of expertise, certification or accreditation, or a proven track record of winning in your industry.
One of the best ways to build credibility is by obtaining certification as a life coach. Because there are many certification programs, you will need to research and find the one that meets your coaching needs the best.
So, the good news is that there are over 800 certification programs for life coaching. The bad news is that there are over 800 certification programs for life coaching.
Instead of telling you about the different programs, I decided to give you a checklist to help you choose the best one for your coaching business. Here it is:
- It provides you with an actual certificate at the end of the program
- It is a paid program and cost is within my budget. Paid certificate programs are known to offer more comprehensive training. They are a better investment by clients.
- The program is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
- The program focuses on your area of expertise as well as coaching in general. This option may not always be available but if you can find it, you will get twice the benefits.
- The program is offered in a way that supports my learning style (online vs. in class).
- The program gives you access to other coaches and resources that can help you improve your skills
To help you in your search for the right certificate program, the International Coaching Federations has created a service that is free to use. It’s the Training Program Search Service and it includes a directory of accredited programs.
You can even be listed as a coach on the ICF site when you complete your training, allowing potential clients to find you.
More on the International Coaching Federation
The ICF is the king of coaching programs. It’s the most recognized training program available. They can provide you with three specific training paths, the Associate, Professional, or Master Certified Coaching programs.
They also offer you the opportunity to work with a mentor coach or get supervision, use their learning portal which holds self-paced training courses.
You are ready to hang the sign outside your office, or post on social media, that you are open for business. Here are a few more tips that if done right in the beginning, will lead to many years of coaching.
Name Your Business
The name of your business is very important. It can be blah and confusing, or it can tell exactly what you do and get clients excited for the change.
For example, “Joe Smith, Life Coach” is so boring and makes the client feel it is all about you. Instead, be creative. If you like a name that is conservative or traditional, choose something like, “Life Worth Living” or “Life Coaching for Change”.
If you want something a little funkier and millennial-ish, choose something like “You Are Woke” or “Your Life is Goals”.
If your clientele is every math nerd on the planet, name your business something like “Root to Success” or “Integreat”.
You know what I’m saying. The key is to make sure your business name attracts the type of customers you want to help.
Setting Up Your Business Legally
Establish a legal business entity. You may choose sole proprietor or possibly LLC that can protect you if your business was sued.
You will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number to do this. This process is super easy and does not cost money.
If you plan to use your name in the title of your business, you may not need to register your business name. But if you plan to name your business something different, without using your name, you will need to register it. This process is also simple.
Registering your business is done at the state level and you will need to check with your state’s application process.
Open a business bank account. If possible, do not go into debt or get a credit card. You will make more money the less debt you acquire.
Set up business accounting.
Get business insurance.
Decide on a Business Location
Decide if you want to coach in an office, in person with the client in the field, or online.
If you want an actual office space where clients will come to you, there are many tips for picking the right one.
Make sure the location is safe.
Obtain all necessary permits and licenses for occupancy, zoning, and safety.
Your office environment should represent your goals as a coach. If you have a rundown, dirty office space, you are not going to get clients to buy into your message.
Working online means creating the right internet presence, with all the right tools for coaching online.
Working with a client in their environment has little overhead and gives you a great view of how they perform on their turf.
Combining all of these may be the best way to provide services.
Establish Fees and Payment Methods
Before you meet with your first client, set your fees. Also, create multiple ways to collect the fees. Do not alter your fees. Being consistent will help in building your reputation. You don’t want to be known as the coach who lowers prices for some clients but not for others.
Determine what you are worth and stick with those prices.
Having multiple ways of collecting fees will help you avoid not getting paid if a person doesn’t have cash on them. Choose PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Credit and Debit Cards, Checks and Cash.
Now you are ready to seek your first client. Social media can be your biggest marketing resource. Take advantage of it. Start a business page on Facebook and start sharing it. Use Instagram to post pictures and stories of inspiring life coaching messages.
Allow appointments to be made on Facebook. You can even create and sell merchandise on Facebook with inspirational messages as an added way to produce income for your business.
Ask clients for referrals, meet with corporate executives who can hire you to coach staff, partner with local therapists, schools, and consultants who can make referrals to your business.
Finally, enjoy your new business. You chose it because it feels good to help others succeed. You are prepared, you are knowledgeable, you are ready.