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How to Become a Life Coach Online in 2021: 7 GREAT Steps

Want to learn how to become a life coach online?

Today, you get a step-by-step plan for how to start a successful life coaching business, get your first paying clients, and quit your 9.5.

Ready to get started? Here we go.

Chapters:

Step 1: What is life coaching? (This might surprise you!)
Step 2: Can you become a life coach without a certification? (Short answer: Yes!)
Step 3: 57 of the best life coaching niches
Step 4: How to become a life coach online so that you can reach more people
Step 5: How to market a life coaching business and get a steady stream of clients
Step 6: How to price your life coaching services
Step 7: Are you in a 9-5? Here’s how to grow your business on the side

Step 1: What is life coaching? (This might surprise you!)

Let’s start with the basics:

What is life coaching?

It’s an umbrella term for coaches who help people improve and transform their lives in some way.

Which is great. After all, coaching can feel incredibly fulfilling and impactful.

But… Not so fast.

You see (and this will save you years of building the wrong type of business):

You shouldn’t call yourself a “life coach.”

Why not?

Life coaching is such a generic term that it’s hard to stand out among all other life coaches.

That’s why there really isn’t much demand for life coaches (and it’s hard to sell your programs).

Instead, niche down and position yourself as a more specialized coach to attract your dream clients.

coaching niche graph

If you position yourself as a life coach and someone else positions themselves as a health coach, who do you think a client will pick if they need support to become healthy?

That’s right. The health coach.

Plus, customers understand the results they’ll get more easily.

Think about it:

A life coach helps someone improve their life. 

Pretty vague, right?

But a mindset coach helps someone improve their mindset. A relationship coach helps people improve their relationships.

See how this makes it way clearer AND immediately shows people why they should work with you? 

What’s more, you can charge higher rates (because of the results you get your clients).

So, to become a life coach, go for a life coaching niche that lets you support your client in a specific way. Maybe it’s health, relationships, career, parenting, or spirituality. You decide! (See Step 3 for more ideas.)

Step 2: Can you become a life coach without a certification? (Short answer: Yes!)

What are the requirements for becoming a life coach?

Good question. After all, new coaches often think they need a certification to become a coach.

Is that the case?

Do you need to be a certified coach?

Look:

You don’t need a life coach certification to qualify as a coach.

In fact, you can get started today.

What’s much more important is that you can get your clients results.

For example, do you help them get results that you’ve gotten yourself?

Or did you help someone else get those results, like a friend or someone at work?

For example:

My client Anna had a successful career before she became a career coach.

Anna cosic website

And my client Ruby had worked at companies like eHarmony before she became a relationship coach.

Coaching client example Ruby

That’s how you become a life coach without a certification.

One caveat: A few niches do require coaching certifications. (These are mainly health-related niches.)

How to become a certified life coach

Still feel you want to get certified to start a professional coaching business?

In that case, look for an established life coach certification program.

The life coach training program or course you choose should be credentialed by an organization that sets industry standards for coaching programs. One such organization is the International Coach Federation.

And how much does it cost to become a life coach? It depends. These programs are often priced somewhere around $1,000-$5,000 or more.

Next:

How do you get started right away? First, let’s look at what niche you should choose.

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Step 3: 57 of the best life coaching niches you can start today

As a life coach, you should be clear on your niche.

So instead of saying you “improve people’s lives”, you get them a specific result. Maybe you help them “find impactful careers” or “find a life partner without dating apps.”

And that’s what a niche does for you. Want to figure out yours?

Let’s go.

What is your life coaching niche?

How do you choose a business niche?

Here’s the thing:

There are so many niches out there. And there one for you.

But how do you figure out if your idea is profitable?

You’ll want to find the sweet spot between what you KNOW (your experiences or skills) and what people are willing to pay for.

coaching niche graph

Start by listing your experiences and skills.

But don’t just look at your work experience.

Look at your hobbies, other skills, and your interests.

Then, think about things people are willing to pay for.

A good rule of thumb?

Is someone else already offering the service you want to offer? (You can do a quick Google search to figure this out.)

If yes, that’s a great sign people WANT your services.

I outline this whole process in this quick video I put together for you:

57 life coaching niches

What are some high-ticket life coaching niches?

First, let’s take a look at a few of my own students.

Relationship coaching. Help people find a partner or improve their existing relationships. That’s what Ruby (who I mentioned earlier) does.

Career coaching. Another form of life coaching? Helping people build a career they love. My client Toni does that. If you want to learn how to do the same, check out my ultimate career coaching guide.

Toni Patterson website

Health coaching. Health is a big part of our lives and you can help people improve theirs. David does it with his signature program that teaches people how to use herbs to take charge of their health. Here’s my guide that helps you become a health coach.

David Alsieux website

Mindset coaching. What’s a great way to help people get past those roadblocks they set for themselves? Mindset coaching. My client Spencer helps people with this.

Coaching client example Spencer

Spiritual coaching. Spiritual coaching can take many forms. For example: As an energy healer, Estelle helps her students bring their spiritual gifts to life.

Activate your magic website

Other niches? Here’s a list of niches you can use right now to get started.

#1. Parenting coach
#2. Divorce coach
#3. Marriage coach
#4. Intimacy coach
#5. Infertility coach
#6. Grief coach
#7. Conflict management coach
#8. Mid-life coach
#9. Retirement coach
#10. Salary negotiation coach
#11. Travel coach
#12. Sports/fitness coach
#13. Nutrition coach
#14. ADHD coach
#15. HBTQ coach
#16. Academic coach
#17. Coaching people to learn better/faster
#18. Memory coach
#19. Pet training coach
#20. Productivity/stress coach
#21. Discipline coach
#22. Organizational/decluttering coach
#23. Personal development coach
#24. Accountability coach
#25. Communication coach
#26. Personal finance coach
#27. Habits coach
#28. Success coach
#29. Motivation coach
#30. Creative writing coach
#31. Performance coach
#32. Wellness coach
#33. Yoga coach
#34. Social skills coach
#35. Goal-setting coach
#36. Purpose/passion coach
#37. Resilience coach
#38. Creativity coach
#39. Leadership coach
#40. Coaching children
#41. Religious coach
#42. Confidence coach
#43. Personal style coach
#44. Public speaking coach
#45. Mindfulness and meditation coach
#46. Reiki healing
#47. Skills coach (helping people improve a specific skill)
#48. Language coach
#49. Self-discovery coach
#50. EFT coach
#51. Life direction coach
#52. Minimalism coach

Remember:

These are just a few examples. There are MANY more niches out there!

Next up:

How to launch an online business.

Step 4: How to become a life coach online so that you can reach more people

What are the advantages of working as an online life coach?

Simple. You reach so many more than if you set up your business locally.

Your work has a bigger impact and your business can grow exponentially.

Not to mention the flexibility and low startup costs of an online business.

So how do you begin offering your services online?

Here’s how.

How to set up a life coaching business plan

To become a life coach, you need to set up a business.

Fortunately, your digital business doesn’t mean a lot of expenses.

All you need is yourself and your computer.

That’s all. You don’t even need a website (and to pay for one) at this point.

Yes, that’s right. You see, a website won’t do much for you yet. Focus on this when you have a few clients.

But:

You need to have some type of a plan to know what steps to take.

What I recommend that your business plan looks like is this:

  • Think through your positioning to stand out as a life coach
  • Understand your business model
  • Choose a business name (or not, as I will show you here below) 
  • Market your business with 1-2 marketing strategies (see Step 5)

How to start out as a life coach

Next, you need a way to stand out with your business.

How?

With your unique life coaching brand and message.

Just like some of your favorite brands (whether that’s Lululemon or Chanel), you need a strong identity that makes your ideal clients come to you.

Don’t overthink this, though.

With my 5-step branding strategy, you can quickly figure out what makes you special.

Answer one or more of these questions to find YOUR unique brand.

1. How are you different?

2. What’s your special sauce?

3. How are your values/beliefs different?

4. How is your audience different?

5. How is your product different?

5-step branding strategy

How to choose a life coaching business model

As a coach, you work one-on-one with your coachees.

Because you focus on individual clients, you’re able to get them faster results and so you can price your services at a higher price point than with other business models.

But that’s not all.

program graph

After you’ve worked with a few one-on-one students, you can create more scalable solutions.

These include group programs and online self-learning courses.

The great thing about these models? They give you the freedom to grow your business further without working more.

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How to choose a life coaching business name

A question I get frequently is:

“What are some good business names?”

You don’t need to overthink this. There are plenty of creative names. But finding the “perfect” name won’t do much.

Instead, focus on getting clients. You can always change your name later on. 

I recommend that you simply get started with your own name. And if you have a very generic name, you can add something to it, like “Jane Smith Mindset Coaching.”

If you definitely want a different name, use Shopify’s business name generator to brainstorm one.

Now you know how to set up your online life coaching business.

Curious to know how to get your first clients and beyond?

That’s what we’ll look at next.

Step 5: How to market a life coaching business and get a steady stream of clients

How do you get clients?

I have a simple strategy in store for you.

Here we go:

How to get clients as a life coach

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of how to get your first life coaching clients, I want you to know one thing.

I’ve coached hundreds of new coaches. And one thing I hear all the time is this:

“Luisa, can I really get coaching clients? I can’t sell… Plus, I feel salesy.”

Look:

No one is born a salesperson, so we all go through this phase.

But once you realize that your coaching practice make a huge impact in your students’ lives, you will feel much more comfortable when marketing and selling your services.

(Need proof that your coaching skills matter? A 2016 study by the University of Salzburg shows that individual coaching and group programs are more effective for goal achievement than when people try to go at it alone.)

To get customers, you need to set up a simple life coaching marketing plan.

This is what it looks like:

Marketing

First, how are you planning on marketing your services?

Step #1

Start with the easiest step possible.

Reach out to your friends, family, or network.

That’s what I did with my first coaching business, a career coaching service.

I offered to coach five people who had asked me for career advice. When two of them said yes, I had a business.

And that’s what my client Emily did to launch her business. She offered her services on LinkedIn and quickly got a few sales.

Emily Liu website

Step #2

But beyond your network, you’ll want to get clients on a recurring basis.

That’s what social media can help you with.

You see, social media is full of communities. And by joining a community, you can build relationships that naturally translate into paid clients.

To use this strategy, go to where your ideal customers are already hanging out.

Usually, that’s a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn.

Other platforms include:

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Twitter

Your marketing strategy depends on which platform you choose. (See my best marketing strategies for coaches here!)

The point is that you’re on these platforms to build relationships with your audience.

That’s exactly what I did. I helped a woman in a Facebook group with what she was struggling with.

I gave a lot of value. And as a result, she asked me how she could work with me.

Payment first paying client

(Want the full story? Here’s my guide on how to build a 6-figure coaching business.)

So your next action step is to choose ONE of these platforms.

Where is YOUR audience hanging out?

Use that platform with the intention to give value.

That’s how people will see just how powerful your services are.

Sales

How do you turn someone who’s interested in your professional coach services into a paying client?

That’s where your sales strategy comes in.

What do I recommend?

Offer a free session.

This session is 15-30-minutes long.

To market your free calls, post about your free sessions in the social media groups you’ve joined. Here’s the post one client used to book these free sessions:

Facebook free call post

And why do I recommend that you give free sessions?

During your calls, people will see how much value you offer with just that one call.

And after you’ve had your free session, you ask if they want to speak more about working together.

It’s that simple. Because you give so much value upfront, you can feel very good about selling your services.

How to create life coaching packages that sell

Once you’ve signed your first clients, it’s time to start working with them.

I recommend that you start by offering 3-4-month long packages.

That time frame means you have enough time to work together and help them get those results.

You can structure your coaching packages the way you want. For example, offer weekly calls with support in between (here’s more on creating a coaching package that sells).

The life coaching tools you need

What coaching tools do you need to work with your life coaching clients?

Glad you ask! Here’s what I recommend:

That’s it. Those are the tools you need.

Next:

How should you price your services?

Step 6: How to price your life coaching services

You’re so close to launching your business.

But there are still a few steps to take. The next thing you need to figure out is your pricing.

How should you price your coaching offer?

There are different life coaching pricing structures.

You could charge:

  • An hourly rate (you get paid for the number of hours you work).
  • A retainer rate (your client pays you a retainer every month).
  • A package rate (you get paid for a set program, like a 3-month program with 12 calls).

I recommend the last pricing option, a package rate.

Why?

Because this option is all about the results rather than any specific number of hours you put in.

Here I talk more about positioning yourself for the highest rates:

What should you charge for your coaching?

How much do life coaches makes?

First, remember what we talked about before.

By niching down, you get your students better results. And when they see that you can help them, the perceived value of your services goes up.

A good starting point for pricing your offers?

$1,500 for a 3-month life coaching package.

Now, you can charge more or less than that. And your program can be shorter or longer.

But for most coaches, this is a good price point to make a good life coach salary.

When can you increase your life coaching rates?

When is a good time to increase your rates?

Once you’ve worked with a few clients, you can start charging more.

Your rate increase structure might look something like this…

increase your coaching rate graph

There are no hard and fast rules here. This is one of those great perks of being self-employed:

You choose how much you’re getting paid!

And guess what?

When you have testimonials and you can show your audience what great results they can get from working with you, your price becomes a mere triviality and you stop competing with other life coaches.

Step 7: Are you in a 9-5? Here’s how to grow your life coach business on the side

Many of my students wonder how they can start a business while they’re still in their day job.

How can you become a full-time coach, when you’re already so busy?

How to make time for your business

You know, when I first started my side hustle, I was in a demanding corporate job.

How did I make it work? I set up a simple marketing plan (follow the marketing plan we talked about before, in Step 5).

And whenever I had time, I would work on my business.

Lunch breaks, after work… I made sure to schedule everything in my calendar:

Business calendar first year

After all, you don’t need several hours every day to set up your business.

Follow a few, strategic steps and you will sell enough coach packages to quit your day job.

Want more? I created this quick video for you:

How long does it take to become a life coach?

You might be wondering, “All this sounds good, Luisa. But how long will it take for me to go from my 9-5 to a full-time business?”

Now, building a business doesn’t happen overnight.

It does require work.

But in the end, if you use a strategy (for example, using a specific social media platform instead of trying to master them all), you could leave your 9-5 sooner than you think.

To do this though, you need to decide how many customers you need.

My recommendation?

Get to a point where you’re earning 2X your current salary.

That way, you’re prepared for any business expenses and taxes.

So let’s say your salary is $4,000/month.

You’ll want to earn $8,000/month before quitting your day job.

“Woah, how will I get to that level?”, you might ask.

It’s easier than you might think.

That’s because with the package rate we talked about earlier, you’ll only need a few students to be able to get to multiple 4-figure months.

For example, even with a rate of $1,500/package, you only need to sell six packages to get to $8,000+.

And once you start raising your rates, you’ll get there even faster.

life coaching rate graph

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Are you ready to start building your life coaching business?

Wohoo, you made it this far! If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How do I become a life coach online?” — now you know.

What an exciting time! Soon enough, you’ll be running your own business.

Now, it’s time for you to put what you’ve learned into action and start your coaching career.

What’s your life coaching niche?

Write a quick comment in the comment section here below.

Become a life coach Pinterest

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

Want to know how to build a profitable, meaningful business to replace your 9-5?

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10 Responses

  1. I like the way you put it on the table. I recently figured out that I’ve been doing this all along, for free. Tween and Teen Life Coach and Tutor. Now it’s time to start getting paying clients.

  2. I loved it! Thank you so much for your helpful article:) I am planning on starting a YouTube Channel about Personal Development Coaching to put up some content and get an audience. In the meantime I’m starting a life coaching training that will last about a year and a half then I’ll be ready to start my coaching sessions. Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome! Glad you found it helpful. Awesome planning to start building your audience now so that when you’re ready to start your coaching sessions, you’ve already got an audience. 🙂

  3. You need a system for this to work. You need to know who you are helping and what they need from you. And you need to provide that and fulfill their expectations.

  4. Having a life coaching certification is a plus point for your career as a life coach. But I will not disagree that certification is not necessary. Many people trust a life coach if he/she has an ICF certification.

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How to Build a 6-Figure Coaching Business - Luisa Zhou-2

Want to Build a 6-Figure Coaching Business So You Can Achieve More Freedom?

Get Instant Access To My FREE Ultimate Guide Below!

When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

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