Dreaming of becoming a coach, but not sure where to start?
I remember feeling the same way. I felt stuck in my unfulfilling corporate job. At the same time, I didn’t know how to start my own business, let alone quit my job. But four months later, I found myself handing in my resignation letter with a growing, 6-figure coaching business.
Want to know how I did it and you can, too? Here’s how to become a coach in 2020. (Know what type of coaching business you want to start? Read to the end to learn more about different coaching niches.)
1. Why should you become a coach?
2. How to become a coach even if you have a full-time job (use this simple, 3-step strategy)
3. The 4 traits all successful new coaches have
4. What type of coach do you want to become?
Health and wellness coach
1. Why should you become a coach?
Why do you want to start a coaching business? As a coach, you get to support and help people achieve their goals with the flexibility and freedom of being self-employed. That in itself sounds pretty sweet, right? But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, we need to make sure we’re on the same page of what a coach is and isn’t.
What does a coach do?
Coaching is a rapidly growing, billion-dollar industry. And no wonder: Coaches can be described as personal advisors and mentors, who help coachees develop their skills and achieve their goals.
My take on things?
As more people discover the power of getting personalized support, the industry will only continue to grow.
As a coach, you can help your clients in pretty much any niche. Health, career… Even in niches like fashion or food. It really comes down to what you have experience in and what you enjoy doing.
Coaching can happen both online and offline. That means you’re either working with your clients anywhere in the world with the help of online tools or you’re working with them face to face.
I prefer the online model. Why? Let’s take a look at the benefits of online coaching.
What can an online coaching business do for you?
Before starting my own coaching business, I had gone through a few business models, including a 6-figure tutoring business and a payment app startup with million-dollar funding.
I knew one thing: I was done with the stress of working a corporate job, building an offline business, or growing a risk-heavy online tech startup.
My next business was going to be an online business. That way, I could decide my own hours and work flexibly from the comfort of my home.
The only thing I needed to decide on the type of online business I wanted to start.
You see, an online coaching business is just one type of business that you can start. Other businesses include ecommerce shops, consultancies, blogs… There are a lot of options.
So, why coaching?
For me, a coaching business was a no-brainer. I could start my business right away by using my existing skills and quickly make a profitable income.
Compare that to, say, an ecommerce business, which requires you to create a product, stock it, and then sell it. To start a coaching business, you only need a laptop and, well, yourself, nothing else.
AND that with much higher profit margins. A coaching package can easily sell for $1,500-2,000. An ecommerce product is usually priced at around $20-100.
Plus, when I was starting my coaching business, I was in a demanding corporate job. I had “it all”: I had a 6-figure salary, a managerial job in New York and I was working at a hot tech startup.
The only problem? I didn’t feel like my job had a purpose.
A coaching business, on the other hand, can be really impactful. By coaching someone to achieve a result they desire and dream about, you’re helping people improve their lives every day.
How to know if YOU can become a coach
Now you know what benefits a coaching business has. But can YOU become a coach?
Good question. The basic thing you need for starting a coaching business is this:
A skill that helps your clients get results.
For example, as a health coach, you help your clients get healthier. As a career coach, you help them build their careers. And so on.
To figure out if you have enough experience, ask yourself: Have you helped yourself and/or someone else get results?
For example, if you want to become a health coach, have you lost weight or have you helped someone do it? If the answer is yes, you know you have the skills to help others do it, too.
The way I did this was through trial-and-error. I started an Excel consulting and career coaching business (long story short: I didn’t enjoy working on them, but you can read more about it here).
Then, I realized that there were tons of entrepreneurs who needed help with their Facebook ads marketing. When I noticed just how many people were asking for help with this, I thought, “WIN!”
You see, at the time, I was working with Facebook ads every day in my day job. So, I tested my idea and started selling Facebook coaching.
Once a few people had said yes to working with me, I knew it was a good coaching niche.
2. How to become a coach even if you have a full-time job (use this simple, 3-step strategy)
Now you might be thinking:
“I’d love to start a coaching business, but I’m in a 9-5. How can I become a coach when I’m already so busy?”
I hear you. I used to feel the same way.
When I was in a busy managerial job, I looked at all these business gurus who were telling me to do things the same way they had done them when growing their businesses 10 years earlier.
I was supposed to be active on social media, write blog posts, keep an email list, create videos, host webinars, and so forth. “I can do that,” I thought. But then I realized: It would take ages to build up my business.
I would have to work my day job and a side job for at least 2-3 more years. That wasn’t time I was willing to spend.
“There has to be a better way,” I figured.
Four months after starting my business, I had quit my day job and my business had made six figures in sales.
One year later, I was at $1 million.
Today, I’ve helped 1000s of people start their own coaching businesses.
What you DON’T need right now to become a coach
Look: Starting your coaching business can be pretty simple (even if it isn’t easy). You just have to know what to focus on.
#1: Coaching certification
The first thing you DON’T need right now is a coaching certification.
Yes, I know there’s this “myth” in the coaching industry that you need a certification.
The truth? You don’t, except for in some very specific niches (say, if you’re giving advice that can have a serious impact on people’s physical or mental health).
It’s MUCH more important that you help your clients get results. Being a great coach is something you learn along the way. That’s also why you should start at a lower rate, earn your stripes, and successively move to a higher rate.
As a coach, you can ALWAYS become better. A certification won’t do that for you. In the worst case, you get stuck in working on your certification (and pay $1000s for it) when you could have worked with clients, helped them get results, and at the same time, learned how to become a better coach.
Personally, I feel I’m constantly evolving as a coach. And I’ve been doing this for a good amount of years.
#2: A website
The second thing you don’t need right now is a website. In fact, you don’t need anything else than a laptop, an Internet connection and a willingness to learn.
When I started my business, I didn’t have a website… And I had made close to $20,000 before building one.
The mistake I see so many new coaching business owners make is to get caught up in creating their website. They spend money and time on perfecting it, but when it comes time to launch it, they realize that they never did the hard work of getting clients and their business doesn’t take off.
That’s why my advice is:
Focus FIRST on getting clients. When you have a few clients, you can start working on other things, like your website and email list.
That’s the fastest way to becoming a coach and quitting your 9-5.
How to find your coaching clients
So how do you find your first coaching clients?
The way I did this was very simple…
I basically went to where my potential clients were hanging out and started talking to them. In my case, as I was selling Facebook ads coaching to entrepreneurs, it was Facebook groups for business owners.
There, I started sharing a lot of value by posting interesting insights and ‘infotainment’ posts (sharing information and entertainment) and answering people’s questions.
Eventually, this strategy got me to 6-figures in sales in four months. Here’s how I did it:
Step #1: Where do your clients hang out?
Step #1 for you is to go where your audience hangs out. This could be Facebook groups, but also Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, or a niche-specific social platform.
Look at where people in your industry are hanging out. For example: Instagram and Facebook are great for health coaches because these platforms let you share before-and-after transformations. There are a lot of Facebook groups for health-interested people, so you know that’s where your audience is hanging out.
And once you’ve found that place where your audience hangs out? Then, it’s time for step #2.
Step #2: Share your content (yes, the world needs it!)
Now, it’s time to quickly put yourself in front of your audience, build trust and sell your coaching package.
Over the next two weeks, get inside your groups and share valuable content with members. To make this something you can juggle with your full-time job, I recommend that you schedule three 15-minute blocks every day.
During this time, you share your content and respond to comments.
Want a few examples of what your content can look like?
#1: Share tips and insights
The first type of post is an educational post.
In my own group, Entrepreneurial Leaders (you should join us!), I often share my own insights and lessons from building my business(es). It can look something like this:
#2: Be entertaining
People use social media as a break in their day and to get entertained. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and creating fun, relatable posts. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) come off as a dry professional who can only talk about your area of expertise (because hey, who wants to work with boring?)
I love sharing content about some of the things that make me, me. For example: I love TV shows. I make sure to let people know.
When I talk about the Kardashians, people can relate. They see me as a human. And that makes them see that my results can be their results, too.
#3: Share livestreams
And finally, one of the most powerful posts you can put out there are livestreams. Sharing your content live is a great way to build a quick connection with people. After all, they see YOU, the real person, sharing advice on your coaching niche.
Here’s a live I did with my sales manager, Aandra:
Step #3: Get on a call… and sell (yikes!)
Once you’ve done this for a few weeks, people will have started to notice you and the value of your services. Now, it’s time to offer a free coaching call.
This is a 15-minute call and the idea is that you coach someone through a simple and actionable block. For example, as a health coach, you can offer advice on how people can implement a simple health routine every day.
People get to “test” your coaching services and realize that you offer a lot of value in just 15 minutes. That way, it’s MUCH easier for them to sign up with you and start working with you.
How to decide on your coaching rate
You know the steps to take to become a coach by now.
But something that can feel confusing is your rate.
WHAT should you ask for when you’re just starting out?
(Hey, I hear you. I used to wonder that exact same thing.)
Start with a $1,500 3-month package. That’s a good, but low enough, rate for people to feel they can commit even if you’re new to coaching. And three months is the perfect length for helping someone get results.
Once you have a few clients and results, you can progressively increase your rate.
3. The 4 traits all successful new coaches have
Over the past few years, I’ve helped 1000s of people start their coaching businesses with my coaching and course programs. During this time, I’ve realized that there are a few things that my top students have in common.
Those are habits that help them become coaches, build their business and hand in their notices. What are those habits? Here you go.
1. Keep consistent (even when you don’t feel like it)
Here’s the thing: THE biggest reason people fail to build their business is that they don’t keep consistent.
Yes, it’s no walk in the park to build your business when you feel tired after work or when a potential client doesn’t want to work with you.
But that’s when you sit down anyway to do the work… THAT’s how you become an entrepreneur.
When I was building my own business (while working my demanding managerial job), I scheduled everything. And I mean everything!
My calendar would look something like this:
Because it was in my schedule (and that time had already been blocked off), I was able to consistently build my business.
2. Take action… fast!
Something else I notice that my top students always do is this:
They take action.
You see, when I give my students the roadmap to achieve their next goal, one of two things happens.
Either I check in with this person a few weeks later. At this point, they’ll say they didn’t get their task done for one reason or another.
Or, as is the case with my top students, they get back to me a few days later. They’ve implemented what we discussed. While others worry about doing the task or failing, they get it done.
Becoming a coach isn’t about doing everything perfectly. Instead, you just need to get it done.
In fact, you’ll probably come off as more relatable and approachable if you make mistakes, say, in your social media posts.
3. Be a problem solver
You know how I can spot someone who will quickly build their coaching business?
Instead of asking, “Will this work for me…?”, they say:
“How can I make this work for me?”
So when others get defeated by rejection (which happens easily during a sales call), top students will look at what they can do better next time. Instead of getting discouraged, they get on the next sales call.
And look: I KNOW it’s tough to get rejection after rejection. When I started out, I got about 30 no’s in a row. It would have been easy to sigh and say, “Well, I guess I tried it and it didn’t work.”
But a few weeks later, I had made my first $5,000 sale.
4. Think about your progress with this anchoring tip
The final habit that my top students adopt?
They think about their progress differently than others.
You have a goal, like becoming a coach and quitting your job. And you might have a goal of making $30,000 before handing in your notice.
When you’re building your business, it’s easy to look at your progress and think, “I’ve only made one sale of $1,500. That’s so far from $30,000. I’ll never get there!”
But top students anchor their progress in a different way.
“Wow, a month ago I was at $0. Now I’m at $1,500. That’s amazing progress.”
See how that change in thinking will encourage them to get their next sale and the next after that?
4. What type of coach do you want to become?
Now you know how to become a coach. But how do you start a coaching business in a specific niche? Here are the best guides for several different coaching niches (let me know in the comments if you can’t find YOUR coaching niche and I’ll make sure to add it).
How to become a life coach
Thinking about becoming a life coach? The thing is: I don’t recommend that you start a life coaching business.
Why? Because life coaching is too general. Not that many will pay a premium price for someone to coach them without having any specific goal in mind. That’s why you should define a life coaching niche you want to start.
Want to learn more? Read this in-depth guide on how to become a life coach.
How to become a health and wellness coach
Health coaching is HUGE. MarketWatch estimates that the global digital health market will be $504.4 billion in 20205.
And no wonder: As a health coach, you help your clients stay healthy, something that most people need help with whether it’s to feel better, stay fit, or lose weight.
Want to read more about starting a health coaching business? Read my guide here.
How to become a career coach
Career coaching is booming. And if you’re passionate about helping people advance in their careers, this can be the coaching niche for you.
Just look at my client Emily, who quickly built her 6-figure career coaching business Cultivitae. She helps people find better and more fulfilling jobs and get promotions and better salaries.
Want to start your own career coaching business? Read this in-depth guide.
How to become a mindset coach
If you love helping others improve their mindset and confidence, mindset coaching could be something for you.
A mindset coach helps people break their old thought-patterns and reinstate new and transformative beliefs. People might be stuck in their relationships, money, jobs… And a mindset coach helps them overcome those blocks.
Who can become a mindset coach?
To become a mindset coach, you need to have overcome your own mindset struggles. Alternatively, you might be trained in mindset coaching or have worked in a related field.
As a mindset coach, you might work with a specific niche, like entrepreneurs or people who want to improve their money mindset. For example, my client Spencer helps entrepreneurs work on their mindset so that they can build their businesses. Spencer has years of experience working with mindset coaching in the corporate world.
Where do you find clients as a mindset coach?
Some of the platforms that might work for mindset coaches include LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. This is by no means an exhaustive list. My mindset coaching students have even found clients on platforms like WhatsApp.
How to become a relationship coach
Love helping people find, well, love?
If yes, becoming a relationship or dating coach might be what you’re looking for. As a relationship coach, you help your clients either find a partner or improve their existing relationships.
You might focus on a specific niche, like women, men, LGBTQ, or even a religious group (who want to find a partner with the same faith). Or you might help people find love in a specific way, either online or offline.
Who can become a relationship coach?
Have you found a healthy relationship and you have a clear methodology for helping others do the same? Or maybe you’ve worked as a matchmaker before or have experience in a similar field (like family counseling)? In that case, you have what it takes to become a dating coach.
For example, my student Ruby Lee has built her own 6-figure relationship coaching business. She started out working for major companies like eHarmony and today, she works with high-quality men who want to attract more dates.
Where do you find clients as a relationship coach?
Relationship coaching clients hang out everywhere and your specific platform depends on your niche. For example, Reddit would be a pretty good bet if your clientele is male. Facebook groups or YouTube can also be great places to find your clients. Or visit offline events for your target clients.
How to become a nutrition coach
A nutrition coach is someone who helps clients eat better. That could be for general health reasons, to lose weight, to find a diet for an allergy or illness or to help someone adopt a new lifestyle, like vegetarianism or veganism.
For example, my student David helps his clients lose weight with herbs. He uses skills he has used himself and helped others use to improve their health.
Who can become a nutrition coach?
Have you used a specific diet to achieve your health goals? Have you helped others do it? Or have you worked as a nutritionist? If you have the experience and skills, you’re ready to become a nutrition coach.
My student Lorisa worked as a nurse until she was diagnosed with cancer, which made her rethink her health. Today, she helps people live healthier with a plant-based diet.
Where do you find clients as a nutrition coach?
Your coaching clients can be anywhere. For example, if you want to focus on a specific niche, like athletes, you might go to a Facebook group for this group. Or if you focus on moms, there are tons of groups for that target group. Other platforms you might want to try are Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.
How to become a business coach
Have you started your own successful business and want to help others do the same? In that case, becoming a business coach is a possibility. For example, my student Kat, who first built her own successful 6-figure business, now helps entrepreneurs find profitable niches.
Who can become a business coach?
To become a business coach, you need to have started and grown your own business successfully in the past. I started my business coaching business after 10 years of building 6 and 7-figure businesses. When I had grown my Facebook ads coaching business to six figures in 4 months and people started asking me for help with growing their own businesses, I made the jump.
Where do you find clients as a business coach?
Your clients can be anywhere where entrepreneurs hang out. For example, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or LinkedIn (or even offline).
How to become a marketing consultant
A marketing consultant helps clients grow their businesses, often in a specific niche. My first coaching business was in the marketing space, as a Facebook ads coach. And one of my students, Nichole, helps retail businesses optimize their retail space (she has years of experience helping major retail brands improve their sales).
Who can become a marketing consultant?
If you have worked as a marketer or have learned how to use different marketing platforms, you’re good to go. You can start helping entrepreneurs and businesses grow their businesses as a marketing consultant.
Where do you find clients as a marketing consultant?
Where do entrepreneurs hang out? That’s where you’ll want to look for your clients. Check out this guide to get my best tips on how to cold pitch.
How to become a fitness coach
You love fitness and maybe you’re a personal trainer or fitness is your hobby? In that case, fitness coaching might be just the thing for you. A fitness coach helps clients reach their fitness goals. As a coach, you create workout plans for your clients or help them achieve more specific goals (like building muscle mass).
Who can become a fitness coach?
You can become a fitness coach if you’ve trained yourself or others and you have in-depth knowledge of different muscle groups and how to train them. For example, if you’ve worked as a personal trainer, you’re perfectly positioned to start your own fitness coaching business.
Where do you find clients as a fitness coach?
Fitness coaching clients are everywhere! But you might want to focus on a platform like Facebook, Reddit or Instagram to find your clients.
How to become a parenting coach
As a parenting coach, you help people develop their parental skills. You can help parents sleep train their children, breastfeed, or understand how to best raise their children.
Who can become a parenting coach?
Did you struggle with something (like breastfeeding) as a parent and now you have a methodology you can share with other parents? Or have you worked in child development? Perfect, you’re qualified to become a parenting coach.
Where do you find clients as a parenting coach?
You can try platforms Facebook groups for parents, moms or dads, Instagram, or Pinterest. All of these platforms contain tons of parents looking for parenting resources.
How to become a leadership coach
A leadership coach helps leaders, such as CEOs, executives, and managers, develop their leadership skills. You might help them make better decisions, become more effective, and become better at managing their teams. For example, my student Carol Parker Walsh helps senior female executives with their leadership skills.
Who can become a leadership coach?
You’re qualified to become a leadership coach if you have experience from developing leaders. Maybe you’ve worked in HR or as a corporate coach or you’ve yourself worked in a leadership position. What you don’t need is a leadership coaching certification (if you have one, great! But if you don’t, go out there and help others develop their leadership skills… THAT’s how you learn and give more value to your clients).
Where do you find clients as a leadership coach?
As a leadership coach, you’ll usually work with professionals, so LinkedIn is a given. But you might also find your clients on other platforms, like Facebook. Remember, it’s all about testing and figuring out where YOUR client hangs out.
How to become a mindfulness coach
As a mindfulness coach, you help people become more mindful with the help of mindfulness exercises. You might also work with meditation and relaxation, as well as specific issues like sleep deprivation or stress.
Who can become a mindfulness coach?
Are you an experienced mindfulness practitioner or have you professionally worked in this field? Great, mindfulness coaching might be the thing for you.
Where do you find clients as a mindfulness coach?
Ask yourself: “Who is my audience?” For example, Facebook groups for people who are interested in mindfulness might be a safe bet. LinkedIn can help you reach people in intensive, high-stress jobs.
How to become a self-esteem coach
A self-esteem coach helps clients become more confident and that way, achieve their goals. Self-esteem affects pretty much every part of people’s lives, so you can help them with specific problems (work, love, speaking, or something else).
Who can become a self-esteem coach?
Do you love helping people reach their full potential? If you yourself have overcome insecurities and thanks to that, achieved your goals or if you’ve worked in related fields, you might consider self-esteem or confidence coaching.
Where do you find clients as a self-esteem coach?
Are your clients professionals? Go to LinkedIn. People looking to become more confident in their relationships or dating? Facebook. Are they male? Reddit might be your platform. Female? Potentially Pinterest.
How to become a spiritual coach
A spiritual coach is a coach who helps others with their spiritual life. This might involve helping people deepening their faith, energy work, reiki healing or something else.
My student Summer is a spiritual coach. You can learn more about how she became a coach here (and how she got her first clients quickly):
Who can become a spiritual coach?
If you have a passion for spirituality, you have experience helping yourself or others and you love to lead others in their spirituality, you can become a spiritual coach.
Where do you find clients as a spiritual coach?
You can find clients pretty much anywhere. For example, my client Claudia, who is an energy worker, has found most of her clients in Facebook groups.
How to become a speaking coach
You LOVE the stage and you love helping others become better speakers? Then, a speaking coaching business might be your coaching niche. As a speaking coach, you help people become public speakers, hold better conferences, meetings, or maybe even get a TEDx spot. You can work with professional speakers, professionals who want to excel at work, entrepreneurs who need to pitch better or anyone who needs better speaking skills.
Who can become a speaking coach?
Are you someone who loves to speak and teach others how to do it? Or maybe you’ve worked in a position that required you to get on stage a lot? Congrats, you could start your own speaking coaching business, just like my client William.
Where do you find clients as a speaking coach?
Your speaking coaching clients could be anywhere. Maybe at your next speaking event or meetups, Toastmasters events, Facebook groups, YouTube or LinkedIn. Focus on one or two platforms and take it from there to find your first paying clients.
…Remember, these are just a few coaching niches. There are tons of other niches and if your coaching niche isn’t on the list, that’s OK. Just use the steps I shared above for getting your first clients and you’ll be on your way to building your coaching business.
Want to learn more?
There you have it. Now you know how to become a coach.
It comes down to a few things: consistency and taking action.
Now, I’d love to hear from you:
What type of coaching business do you want to start?
Let me know in the comments below (I read every reply!).