How to Start a Life Coaching Business: 8 Simple Tips to Help You Set Up Your Own in No Time
We’ve all heard of Instagram and Facebook influencers who give out free advice on how to make your life better by improving certain aspects of your daily routine.
You might have also been glued to various books where people offer guidance on how to manage your finances, mental health, nutrition, etc.
There definitely would have been certain points when you must have felt or thought the following,
- “Wait for a second, isn’t this common sense?”
- “These people take money for this? I can give this advice for free!”
- “I have more experience in this sector and this advice is definitely wrong!”
- “You shouldn’t say this to a person who started working, they’ll feel demotivated”
Ever thought about exploring further down this path to see if you can be a successful life coach? Have no clue where to start or what to do?
Well then, hold on tight! Let’s go on a journey into the world of starting a life coaching business.
Life Coaching 101
Before we begin on how you can become a life coach, let’s get something out of the way.
Life coaches are not therapists, they neither “treat” nor “diagnose”.
Life coaches are literally as the term indicates, people who coach you regarding your life and how you can lead it better.
They are those who act as a guide or a motivational figure to truly bring out what you are into the limelight.
Good coaches are great listeners – but there’s a lot more to manage when it comes to coaching and guiding someone’s life.
It does come with its perks though, the satisfaction you get when your client succeeds in their goal, be it weight loss or a career-defining promotion, is another joy altogether.
It is a multidisciplinary job: you are at all times an entrepreneur, marketer, or salesperson. It is a job that would sometimes involve hard truths and usually no instant gratification.
You might not see a noticeable difference in your client for a sustained period.
Coaching is not the same as counseling. Coaching is action-orientated while counseling is coping-orientated
Now that we have the basics done and dusted, let’s take a look at 8 tips on how to build a coaching business
Here’s what we’ll be discussing in this blog:
- What’s your niche?
- What’s in a name? Your brand and more!
- What to do to build your social media presence?
- What about marketing?
- How to navigate certifications and credentials?
- How to structure your business?
- How to work out your service delivery basics?
- How to figure out your pricing?
1. What’s your niche?
Sure, it seems like covering a wide range of expertise in your business can be a default safety net and might bring you revenue from various sources.
However, to truly grow your business and have a strong and loyal clientele, you need to identify your niche.
As we go through life, we are bound to gain experience in many areas. That’s when core competencies emerge.
Becoming a life coach would involve you thoroughly exploring your core competencies. Explore the areas of expertise that make you uniquely qualified to provide help to others and then practice more on those skills.
Not sure what you are good at? Try answering the following questions,
- What valuable expertise do you possess that you can share with others?
- What are the biggest hurdles you’ve faced in your life? How did you make use of your skills to overcome those problems?
- What type of people has come to you for advice?
- What problems are you the “go-to” person for?
Then try to reflect on your skills, experiences, and strengths, for example:
- Are you an avid public speaker with legendary oratory skills? You can try coaching people to eliminate their fear of public speaking.
- Were you the star performer in your marketing department scoring consistent wins for your company through your campaigns? You can coach upcoming founders, CXOs, organizations to create their brand and amp up their marketing.
- In your past job, you might have been a stellar HR who was good at identifying and recruiting talent. You can help people who are struggling with career stagnation, burnout and boost their job hunting prowess.
Identifying your niche is pretty much all about learning to introspect. You need to know what you are capable of before making others believe that they are capable of anything.
Here’s another question that you should think about while setting up a life coaching business – What will be your coaching philosophy?
Are you going to provide advice that is time-tested and following a protocol that will be actionable or are you going to guide your clients towards decisions that they would arrive at themselves?
An important first step while figuring out your niche and coaching philosophy is writing a mission statement. It may seem strange but doing so will help you refine your actions and give you direction.
2. What’s in a name? Your brand and more!
This is a common piece of advice to all business owners, your business’s name will always be one of the strongest tools in your marketing toolkit.
Generally, your name and logo play an important role in making people opt for your services. Hence, you must choose a name that radiates professionalism, positivity, and confidence.
Try referencing coaching in your business name or something along those lines so that people don’t have to look elsewhere for information about your business. Eg: “Design your life”, “John’s Coaching”, “Hamil’s Coaching Club” etc.
Your brand is essentially what your company stands for and how it will be perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors and make it easy for your customers to choose you.
You can create/improve by brand by enhancing the way you carry forward your services. Great customer experience and qualified coaching will help you achieve the same.
Social media presence plays an important role in your branding campaigns as your exposure to the public would be the widest there.
3. What to do to build your social media presence?
Social media is an unavoidable pitstop in marketing your business. The earlier and better you handle it, the faster would be your growth in this domain.
Creating CTA’s and being present where your clients spend most of their time is one way to achieve your client acquisition goals.
Confused about each social media platform’s importance and priority? That decision would depend heavily on your niche and target audience.
For example, If you plan to work mainly with executive clients, then LinkedIn will be more helpful than Instagram as it is more professional in nature. If you want to work with clients who are focused on wellness or mindfulness (or if you are targeting a younger audience), your customers would probably be more active on Instagram.
Here are some tips you can follow to make the most out of social media as you grow your coaching business:
- Create short videos that are mini-lessons and share them with your audience. Instagram Stories and IGTV are great platforms for these. It will appear as a mini-demo, a peek into your services and give people a chance to see if they resonate with your charisma, coaching style, etc.
- Use hashtags. Try to find the most trending hashtags in your niche, then post the content that associates with it the best.
- Join relevant groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, etc. Network your way to the top of your target audiences by connecting with other coaches and potential clients in your niche.
- Be more active by sharing your blog content on your social channels with a link to your website to drive more traffic and convert visitors to clients.
- Involve yourselves in conversations by sharing your knowledge and expertise.
- Try and get your website done well so that it looks professional and people will feel like they can trust you. Poorly made websites with a lot of typos are an instant turn-off.
- Make sure your website has a Home, About, Services, and Contact Pages so that they’ll get all the information regarding your services in short as well as long-form.
4. What about marketing?
Marketing a life coaching business can be a challenge as you are selling a tangible product.
You’re selling an outcome that may or may not happen. Your success depends on your client’s willpower and determination
How about some basic pointers? Check these tips out,
- Master the art of Word of Mouth marketing
- It is a common and efficient way for people to connect with life coaches. The better you serve your customers, the better your reputation in the community.
- 77% of customers will recommend a business after a positive customer experience.
- Request for testimonials from your satisfied clients and use them on your booking page to make those who are unsure take the leap and book your service confidently.
- Be careful though, it is a double-edged sword, poor quality of service can lead to you not receiving any clients in the future.
- Set up a rewards or referral program
- Set up a rewards program to keep the referrals rolling in.
- Give your clients a chance to bring in new clients. They would most definitely have a friend or family member who’s facing the same issues as them.
- This would help you get quality referrals and who would most likely convert to paying clients.
- It would also act as an incentive for your existing clients to network with other people and act as your evangelist.
- Get your scheduling in order
- Talking about great marketing, having a scheduling software really helps out.
- Scheduling conflicts, messy paper diaries, having to check availability every time, etc. will turn out to be your worst enemies.
- Using a good scheduling software will not only help you curate a hassle-free booking experience for your clients but also automate most of your mundane admin tasks.
- If you are teaching your clients to lead an efficient and productive life while dangling in the same problems, then there’s a high chance you’ll soon lose your regulars.
- 54% of bookings that happen during working hours are made on the go, hence it is important for your clients a way in which they can book on the go or with minimal fuss and steps.
- Don’t stay behind the curve and lose out on clients when you can use Appointy’s life coaching scheduling software to make your life much easier, drive visitors, and convert them to paying clients.
- Create a listing on Reserve with Google.
- Take bookings directly from Google search using Reserve with Google.
- This would help you to capture clients who are on the lookout for life coaching services on Google.
- There is a high probability that a prospective client might click on your profile and proceed to book a demo class or visit your website for more information.
- To allow clients to directly book from google, you’ll need a booking software that is an official Google Reserve partner (which Appointy happens to be one of).
- Enable people to book from your social media and website
- Your clients will be spending a significant amount of time in various types of social media depending upon their interests.
- They’ll be consuming content that aligns with your coaching niche.
- Being visible to them in such a scenario and having an option for them to book you via social media would help you convert prospective visitors.
- Add a “Book Button” to your Instagram or Facebook profile to drive more clients into your business and stay ahead of your competitors.
- Attend industry-specific workshops and seminars
- Industry-specific seminars are always a great way to network with other life coaches.
- Workshops related to your niche would help you in gaining more knowledge and keep up with the latest trends.
- Having a good rapport with your fellow life coaches will help you get more clients via referrals.
- They might come across people who are not under their niche but require coaching that is your specialty. They will refer them to you and you can do the same as well.
- Having a coach-specific referral program will help out a great deal for both beginners and veterans.
Want to explore life coach marketing in detail? Be sure to check out this blog that has great tips and easy-to-follow steps for you to set up the best marketing campaign.
5. How to navigate certifications and credentials
Did you search “how to become a certified life coach” and saw the endless requirements, expenses, and work required to be one? Let’s pick up a scenario.
Will you go to a doctor who does not hold a medical degree or to an unlicensed therapist?
An almost similar phenomenon exists in the coaching industry as well. Unless you were part of the initial coaches who had a first-mover advantage, it’s possible that you may get drowned in the ever-increasing pool of new life coaches.
However, you can exist and thrive in this industry without a certification provided your environment is apt and you play your cards right.
Earning life coach credentials from an internationally recognized organization — like the International Coaching Federation (ICF) will boost your credibility, especially when you are just about to start and don’t have a lot of client testimonials.
Here are some statistics to validate the above: 77% of coaches concurred that their clients expected that they would be certified while 83% of clients agreed that it was important for them that their coaches held a valid credential.
Let’s just say that getting a certification before you fully take the plunge is a difficult investment in terms of costs and time, make sure you have other ways to show credibility and expertise to your potential clients. This includes:
- Education – This one would depend on the niche you are planning to focus on. A degree/background in psychology, wellness, nutrition, organizational behavior, and even marketing can lend you some well-needed credibility.
- Work experience – Having previous experience as a therapist, entrepreneur, social worker, HR, consultant, marketer, etc. Being part of the best in your industry will always attract potential clients.
- Testimonials and references – From friends, family, and coworkers who you’ve coached or advised on a personal or semi-professional level.
6. How to structure your business?
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s go deeper into the business and its associated components. It’s time to choose a business entity type for your life coaching practice.
If you’re starting your new coaching practice on your own, here are the popular choices,
- Sole proprietorship – Unincorporated business with one just owner.
- Limited liability company (LLC) – Registered business with limited liability for all the members.
Confused? The difference between a sole proprietorship and an LLC lies within liability, costs, regulations, and taxes. Let’s go through them briefly.
- In a sole proprietorship, you are responsible for all of the debts and liabilities. If your business runs into financial trouble, you will be responsible and your personal assets would be at risk. Your business will be an extension of you.
- In an LLC, the business itself will be responsible for its debts and liabilities.
- A sole proprietorship has very minimal initial costs.
- An LLC will cost more upfront because you’ll have to register and pay initial registration as well as annual maintenance fees.
- An LLC will be regulated more heavily than a sole proprietorship.
- Sole proprietors are taxed as self-employed while LLCs follow typical corporate tax structures.
7. How to work out your service delivery basics?
Once you have figured out your business basics, it’s time for you to think about how you can make your coaching reach the masses.
It essentially starts with locking in modes of communication. You should focus on the following,
- Coaching channel
- You can either provide your service via video conference sessions or in-person depending on availability and location.
- Seeing your client face-to-face and the interaction is important to verify that they understand your input.
- You can decide if you want your sessions to be numbered, dated, or otherwise identifiable to track them and for your billing purposes.
- This step is extremely important if you are thinking about how you can start an online life coaching business
- Additional resources
- On your website, you should think about providing access to gated content that supports your coaching.
- You can create login functionalities for your clients so that they can access the content anytime anywhere.
- It can range from self-affirmation worksheets to guided meditations.
- Provide new resources as the client progresses and draw their attention to this supplemental material after every coaching session.
- This way you can keep your client engaged and drive traffic to your website
- A communication channel
- How do you expect your client to reach you in case they have any questions, will it be via text messages, emails, calls, etc.?
- Establish before you take the clients as to what they can expect in terms of a response time.
8. How to figure out your pricing?
Pricing is an important factor in any business to get the ball rolling. Too high and your customers will move to your competitors while too low would make them doubt the quality of your sessions.
To plan your budget and set your pricing in order, you need to first figure out how much setting up and taking your business forward would cost you. Both one-time and recurring expenses. For example,
- One-time costs – Certifications, work phone, and laptop, good quality audio-video equipment, website design, domain name registration, etc.
- Recurring costs – Annual membership fees for coaching associations, monthly internet access, insurance, website hosting, subscription-based software, payroll for your employees (if you have any).
To start a life coaching business, you don’t require a lot of equipment. You’ll need an office (or a room in your house) where you have ample space and can have privacy during the coaching sessions or while meeting with new and potential clients.
If you are planning to solely focus on becoming a life coach online, then it is paramount that your home or office reflect the same.
Your office must be complementary to what you are coaching on. An office that projects comfortability, trust, integrity, etc. in terms of decor, color palette, theme, and interior design will help in achieving the same.
You’ll also need to consider what you’ll charge. Here are some important considerations when determining your rate.
There are three main ways in which you can charge for your services:
- Per session (hourly is the norm)
- Per month (fixed number of sessions)
- Per package (usually for $X/3 months or $X/12 sessions etc)
Feel free to play with add-ons and extensions so that you can keep your base price less while earning more with organic upselling. For example, An extra hour would cost $X while a personal guided meditation would cost $Y and so on.
To estimate the right price to charge, take into account the following:
- The niche which you decided to coach
- Your experience in your niche and life coaching
- Your target audience and their income slab
- Your revenue goals and budget
- The certifications/credentials you possess
- Your reputation amongst other life coaches and your existing clients
Make sure to include a coaching contract when you acquire new clients. Use simple, straightforward language to let them know what they can expect from your services, and more importantly, what you expect from them.
If you feel that you are not ready to take the leap and start committing to full packages, consider offering your friends and family free or discounted mini-sessions. You can request them for testimonials and candid feedback.
This can also set the momentum for your word-of-mouth marketing campaign.
Life coaching isn’t a business that you should take lightly. People are entrusting their mental as well as their physical well-being to you.
You owe it to them to stay updated and on top of the current trends in your industry; be it best practices or additional resources.
For people who love to help others and enjoy the journey, then this is a venture you should consider.
We hope this blog helped you get clarity on some of the key points you should focus on while building your life coaching business.
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.
We love a good talk!