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How to Become a Life Coach Online: 7 Success Steps

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Want to learn how to become a life coach online?

A life coaching business can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. 

But how do you start one successfully? 

Today, you get a step-by-step plan for how to start your own life coaching business, get your first paying clients, and quit your 9-5.

Ready to get started? Here we go.

You’ll learn…

What is life coaching?

Let’s start with the basics:

What is a life coach?

Luisa Zhou bio

Life coaching is an umbrella term for coaches who help people improve and transform their lives in some way. 

That’s what makes coaching incredibly fulfilling.

The life coaching industry is growing fast, too–it’s a billion-dollar industry. The average life coaching hourly rate is $100-$150.

But what does a life coach do, exactly? 

First, life coaches are not therapists. 

They don’t treat or diagnose mental health issues. Instead, you help your clients live fulfilling lives in a specific way. 

And the skills you need is experience in what you’re coaching on (more on that in a bit). And coaching skills, including: 

  • Communication: One of the most important coaching skills is communication – listening, being candid with your clients, and communicating what they need at that moment.
  • Support: You also need to be able to support your client in the best way, whether that’s by just hearing them out or giving them tough love. Part of your job is to believe in your clients, even when they don’t see it themselves. 
  • Setting boundaries: You also need to learn how to set boundaries to be a great coach. Clearly communicate when you’re available to your clients and in what capacity. 

You’ll learn these skills as you coach more people. And build a thriving life coaching business in the process.

Like my student Spencer, who is a mindset coach to entrepreneurs and business leaders. 

Screenshot of Spencer Snakard website

With that, let’s find out what it takes to become a life coach. 

7 steps to becoming a life coach

How do you become a life coach? 

Building a coaching business is relatively simple (even if it isn’t easy). This type of business can have a high profit margin and low risk, so you can do it on the side of your day job. 

To do so, you need the right steps. And that’s what we’ll look at here below. 

Step 1: Find your coaching niche

Becoming a life coach requires you to 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.”

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.

Instead, niche down to attract your dream clients and build a life coaching career.

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?

That’s right. The health coach.

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

Think about it:

A life coach helps someone improve their life. 

On the other hand, 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 help your clients get).

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6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

But, how do you choose a niche?

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

Start by listing your experiences and skills, as well as your interests.

Then, think about things people want 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 the process in this quick video I put together for you:

A few popular life coaching niches include: 

  • Relationship coach. Help people find a partner or improve their existing relationships. 
  • Career coach. Another form of life coaching? Helping people build a career they love. An alternative (for those who’ve started businesses) is business coaching. 
  • Health coach. Help people improve their health with health, nutrition, or wellness coaching. 
  • Mindset coach. Mindset coaching is a great way to help people get past their mindset blocks. 
  • Spiritual coach. Spiritual coaching can take many forms, including Reiki or energy healing.

Get more niches here in my coaching niche guide

And for a few real-life examples, here are a couple of my students who built coaching businesses in these niches. 

Emily built a successful career coaching business after having worked for years in recruiting: 

Screenshot of Cultivitae website

David built a health coaching business helping people use herbs to get healthy: 

Wisdom Square website

And Estelle helps people as an energy healer: 

Screenshot of Activate your magic website

Next, let’s look at what type of life coaching certification you need. 

Step 2: Get certified (or don’t)

What are the requirements for becoming a life coach?

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

Is that the case? 

What makes you qualified to be a life coach? 

Look:

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

What’s much more important than being a certified life coach is that you can help your clients get results.

For example, have you achieved those results yourself? 

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

You don’t necessarily need coaching experience, but you do need relevant experience.

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

Screenshot of Anna Cosic's website

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

Screenshot of Good gentleman website

Essentially, there are no professional standards or education requirements for life coaches. Becoming a life coach requires you to be in integrity (you need the right experience)–but you don’t need to be a certified coach. 

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

How to become a certified life coach 

Still feel you want to get certified?

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

The life coach training program or course you choose should be approved by an organization that sets industry standards for life coaches. One such organization is the International Coaching Federation.

Most life coach certifications are often priced somewhere around $1,000-$10,000 or more.

Either way, look for accredited courses to make sure you’re looking at a trustworthy life coach certification program. Also, niche training programs work well, too (certification programs for health coaches, career coaches, and so on).

A few life coaching certification programs include: 

  • iPEC Coach Training: iPEC is an ICF accredited program that teaches you three stages of coaching mastery. The program costs $13,395.
  • Coach U Coach Training: Coach U goes through two phases of coaching over 14-23 months. The program costs $10,090 and you can take it at your own pace. 
  • Coach Training Alliance: This six-month program teaches you business, marketing, and coaching skills. The program costs $3,897 and is ICF-accredited. 

Now you know how to get certified.

Next, let’s take a look at how to get your business up and running.

Step 3: Set up your online life coaching business

How do you set up your business? 

First, you need to figure out what type of business you want to start. There are a few options – the most popular ones are an LLC or a sole proprietorship. 

Both have pros and cons. An LLC requires more paperwork but protects you from personal liability. A sole proprietorship doesn’t protect you from personal liability, but you don’t have to register your business and it’s simpler to start than an LLC. 

Read more about what type of business you should start in my guide on legal requirements for life coaches.

But you also need to plan ahead and figure out your finances.

Fortunately, a coaching business doesn’t require a lot of funding. And you can start focusing on getting a client from day one because you’re using skills you already have. 

In fact, you don’t even need a website. That’s how I got started – I built one (and not a very pretty one!) when I had made $20,000 in sales. 

My first website

If someone asked to see my website, I sent them to my LinkedIn profile. It worked just as well – if you’re a brand new coach, few people will decide to work with you based on your website. 

So…you can get started today with the skills you have NOW.

👋 High five to that 👋

But how do you get those clients? 

Let’s find out. 

Step 4: Get clients

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.” 

Listen:

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

But once you realize that your coaching practice makes 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.) 

And to find your first clients, use these strategies: 

Step #1 – Your network

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. 

Get the Ultimate Guide

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6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

Step #2 – Social media 

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

Social media can help you.

You see, social media is full of communities. And by having a digital presence on them, 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
  • TikTok

On these platforms, provide value before you sell. 

That’s how I got my first client. I helped a woman in a Facebook group and gave a lot of value–for free. And as a result, she asked me how she could work with me.

Screenshot of PayPal transaction

Step #3: Offer a “Taster” call 

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

This is where your sales strategy comes in.

A great way to sell without feeling salesy is to use the “Taster technique.” 

Offer a free, 15 to 30-minute session to prospective clients. 

To spread the word about your free calls, promote them in the social media group you’ve joined. Just like my client did here: 

Facebook free call post

And why do I recommend that you give free sessions?

Because you offer value upfront. Once you’re done with the free session, you then ask if they want to speak more about working together.

Some will say “yes” because they see just how much you can help them. 

To sign your first clients, use these resources: 

  • Calendly: Calendly is a call scheduling tool, which makes it easy to schedule all your calls (whether free sessions or paid).
  • Coaching contract: You’ll need a coaching contract and in this guide, you’ll learn how to create one. 

Step 5: Market your life coaching business

Part of running a business means you need to continuously market your business

The first step is to double down on what you’re already doing.

For example, I got my first clients in Facebook groups. 

Soon after, I built my own group, started doing livestreams, and ultimately, added on Facebook ads. I used those strategies until I was well over seven figures in sales. 

That’s when I swapped to more scalable strategies, like YouTube and search engine optimization.

In other words, start with ONE platform/strategy and focus on it until you’re ready to master another one. 

Step 6: Price your life coach services

What type of coaching package should you offer? 

Start by offering 3-4-month long packages.

That time frame means you have enough time to work together and help them get results. But it’s short enough to make it easy to say “yes” to working together.

The structure of your packages is up to you. For example, offer weekly calls with support in between. (Here’s more on creating a coaching package that sells.)

Now, there are different life coaching pricing structures.

You could charge an hourly, package, or retainer rate. 

I recommend a package rate. And a good starting point is $1,500 for a three-month package.

Why? 

Because this option is all about the results rather than any specific number of hours you put in. In other words, it’s much more attractive to prospective clients.

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

Step 7: Keep learning

As a coach, you’re constantly learning and growing.

So continue learning and coaching – because it’s through practice that you ultimately learn how to become a great coach. 

Here are a few resources you can use: 

Frequently asked questions about becoming a life coach

How much can you make as a life coach? 

Do life coaches make money? 

Yes, they do. And the best part is that as a business owner, you get to choose what that looks like for you.

The International Coach Federation cites $67,800 as the average salary for most life coaches. But what other coaches make is not the baseline you need to set for your business.

Many of my students have gone on to make six, multiple six or seven figures from their businesses. 

How much does it cost to become a life coach? 

A coaching business is one of the best business models for new business owners because you don’t have a lot of upfront costs. You basically need your laptop and an internet connection to get started because you sell your existing skills.

If you decide to get certified, the cost will typically be at least $1,000-$13,000. 

Other costs include marketing costs (but strategies that help you get clients the fastest and most sustainably don’t cost anything – think networking, social media, or podcasting).

I talk more about the cost of life coaching in this guide

Get the Ultimate Guide

for building a
6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

How long does it take to become a life coach? 

How long it takes depends on a lot of factors. How much time do you put into building your business? How consistent are you? 

Start by spending at least 45 minutes per day promoting your business. (That’s what I did – I’d use 15 minutes during my lunch break and 30 minutes in the evenings to go into Facebook groups and build relationships.) 

Some of my students have successfully started their businesses within a few months, others need a bit longer. However long it takes for you, remember that you have your own journey. 

Are you ready to start building your business?

You made it this far! If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How do I become a life coach online?” – now you know how to become a successful life coach.

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

Want more help in building your business? 

Get my free blueprint for starting your own six-figure coaching business:

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

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

Learn more:

What is Life Coaching?

How to Build a Life Coaching Business

Top Life Coaching Services

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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22 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.

  5. Thank you ! This is very helpful 💜 you inspired me to chose a mindset niche and i am very grateful.
    I have been a life coach for 10 years now and for the first time i felt i wana specialise when I read your article so thank you again.
    I hope i inspire more people 💜💜💜 and pay it forward
    Much love
    Nihal

  6. This was a great article. I picked out a niche to help women who have been abused to help them rebuild their lives and confidence. However I believe that I am needing to go back to square one and re think my coaching niche. There is so many free coaching out there for Domestic Violence that I am having a hard time getting leads and clients. This was a passion of mine. I have been thinking about getting a different niche that I can have clients with and the abuse be my side project that I have. I have been on this for about a year with the abuse and starting all over is a bit scary.

  7. Thanks for this! I’m wanting to do this part time and my niche would be teens. I’m wondering the best way to get clients since it’ll be the parents who will be paying….yet the teens are my clients. Any suggestions please and thanks and yours is the best article I’ve had the priveledge of reading. Really helpful in getting my confidence up and answering many of my questions!

    1. You’re welcome! And happy to hear you found it so helpful! When you are in a business where the parents are paying even though their children are technically your clients, you want to make sure you’re also speaking to (or maybe even directly marketing to, depending on your specific industry) the parents, as they are the ones often deciding, or at least agreeing, on who to hire.

  8. Hi Luisa,

    This was an amazing post, I learn a lot from this and you have really added incredible value. I am choosing Personal Development as a niche but do you want me to niche down further for example – shall I make it “Personal Development for Men and Women above 40″…?

    Please let me know.

    Thank you again

  9. I really appreciate how clearly you laid this out. I am just beginning to explore if my niche could become a “life coach” business. I have been encouraged by family and friends to do this but I am lost as how to make happen. I am a mother to a medically fragile special needs child. He is 15 years old now. When he was newly diagnosed, I was lost and had zero idea where to go for resources and other programs. I have since then had a passion for helping young mothers navigate the waters of a newly diagnosed child. Understanding terminology, how to know when a doctor is not right for your child, how to make PT, OT or doctor appts productive, and then the school IEP system. Just to name a few. I just don’t know if this is something that can become a business or I would feel comfortable charging for??

  10. Thank you for a fantastically simplified article. As a career with a decade of experience, you assisted me in selecting a mindset coach. I plan to begin with meet-up groups to build my client base while also developing my social media brand.

  11. Great article Luisa. The year 2023 I have made a transformation among my habits and ways of thinking and I think I could help others to do the same. I think the first thing that helped me was the mindset change. That’s why I think you have inspired me to lean into that niche. Excellent content

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