How do you start a life coaching business?
Starting a life coach business doesn’t need to be difficult or overwhelming. Today, you get the seven steps that will help you build a profitable business and create massive and lasting impact.
Want to learn more? Read on!
What is a life coaching business?
First things first:
What is life coaching?
Coaching is all about supporting and mentoring someone to reach a goal. Life coaching is specifically about helping people improve their lives.
But is it worth it to start a life coaching business? How profitable is life coaching? And how in demand are life coaches really? That’s what we’ll look at next.
Is life coaching profitable?
Life coaching is and isn’t profitable.
Let me explain:
“Life coaching” is a term that includes a ton of different types of coaches, including mindset, relationship, stress, performance, motivation, and even health coaches.
If you call yourself a “life coach,” you won’t stand out. But niching down will help you attract more clients.
For example, as a “mindset coach” your value becomes so much clearer.
That’s why I don’t recommend that you promote your business as a life coaching business, but as your specific niche.
If you do that, then YES, life coaching can be very profitable.
Many of my own students make multiple six-figures a year while enjoying their lives to the fullest. For instance, my student Spencer, who is a mindset coach, makes three times as much as she did in her day job and works less.
The thing is:
Coaching is a highly profitable business model.
As a coach, you sell your expertise and personal time. If you help people transform their lives, that’s worth a lot to them.
And becoming a life coach can be highly fulfilling, too.
You get to work with people on solving some of the biggest challenges they face in their lives. Your coaching can have a big impact and help them change their lives for the better.
Are life coaches in demand?
Can you build a business as a life coach?
Is it something people want to pay for?
The answer is yes. Coaches are in demand. After all, coaching is a $2.85 billion global industry and it’s growing fast. Clients understand the value of coaching, too; 99% are satisfied or very satisfied and 96% would repeat the process.
63% of consumers prefer to spend on experiences where they learn something new. Coaching is becoming increasingly popular as people look for more meaningful things to spend their money on.
That said, as we noted above, you do need to niche down because, again, “life coaching” is too broad and generic.
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Helping people transform their lives in a specific way (improve their mindset, become healthier, or find love) is what makes your services really valuable.
Now you know what life coaching is and the benefits of starting a life coaching business. But how do you actually get started? Here’s what you need to know.
Starting a life coaching business checklist
What is the most effective, efficient way to build your own life coaching business and replace your income?
These seven steps will help you get started fast, even if you’re new to coaching. Read on!
1: Choose your life coaching niche
By now, you know how important a niche is. But the question is…how do you find a niche?
One that’s profitable and matches your skills and interests?
Fortunately, you can find your niche with a bit of brainstorming and research. Here are the steps:
Figure out your sellable skills
This is a fun exercise to uncover those hidden skills you have that you can use to start your life coaching business. (Yes, we all have sellable skills.)
First, write down a list of your skills.
These can be skills you’ve learned as part of your day job or on the side. So for instance, knowing how to manage people is something you might have learned in your day job while eliminating sugar from your diet is a skill you probably would have learned on your own.
Second, write a list of your achievements.
What results have you achieved? For example, have you gotten promotions, negotiated a higher salary, lost weight, or gone from feeling constantly stressed and unfocused to being calm and focused?
Those are all results you could use as your coaching niche.
And if you want more on finding your niche, take a look at this quick video I put together:
Life coaching niche examples
But how do you know what niches are actually profitable?
Here’s a list of profitable life coaching niches (and if you need more, this post gives you 100+ niche examples):
- Health coaching
- Relationship coaching
- Mindset coaching
- Financial coaching
- Performance coaching
- Parenting coaching
- Stress coaching
- Happiness coaching
- Career coaching
- Spiritual coaching
- Public speaking coaching
- Confidence coaching
Will you get stuck in one niche?
But…do you have to “get stuck” in one niche? What if you’re multi-passionate and don’t want to focus on just one thing?
Don’t worry. Getting started in one niche is just that…a start. After you master one niche, it’s natural to expand into other niches. So you’ll be able to use all your skills and talents to help even more people.
You do need to start somewhere. (Otherwise, it becomes too overwhelming.)
So to find your life coaching niche, go through the process above to find your skills. When you have a niche, move on to the next step, understanding your clients.
2. Understand your life coaching clients
Once you have a list of niche ideas or one winning idea, it’s time to research your clients.
You see, your business will only work if you understand who they are. If you don’t, you won’t speak their language or be able to explain the benefits of your services in a way that clicks for them.
For instance, if you talk about “stress coaching” without really explaining the benefits, few people will pay attention.
But if you talk about the same things your potential clients would talk about if they were explaining their challenges, you’ll attract far more clients.
For instance, they might say things like “I’m overwhelmed and I never get to spend time with my kids or have time for myself.” And that might resonate more with them than talking about “stress.”
See the difference?
Understanding your clients doesn’t have to be hard, either.
To do it, find out where your clients are congregating online. For instance, are there Reddit threads that attract people who might be interested in your services? For a stress coach, those could be self-development groups and for a career coach, they might be career groups.
Go to those groups and take a look at what people are talking about. What are their challenges and goals in terms of what you help them with? Start conversations and talk to people to understand why they would need and want your coaching services.
Or maybe you already have potential coaching clients in your existing network. Post an update on a social media platform to ask people to do short interviews with you so that you can learn more about them. To incentivize them, offer short, free coaching calls.
3. Craft an offer
Now you know what your niche is and who you’re talking to.
But how do you create a coaching program that sells?
Great question. Because not every coaching program will sell well…only those that are developed for your audience of clients.
Choose a price
First, choose the right price.
If you go too low, people won’t see the value in your offer.
And if you go too high, they won’t buy.
What’s the sweet spot?
For new coaches, a suitable coaching price is $1,500 for a three-month package.
While you might increase your rates after a few clients, this is a good price to get started at.
Working with your first few clients will help you build your coaching skills. And while you might need some practice to become a great coach, your clients get to work with you for a relatively low price, so it’s a win-win.
Here’s more on how to charge your worth as a new coach:
Create an irresistible offer
When you create a coaching package, you need to position it in the right way. It’s not enough to say, “you get this and that many coaching calls and these pdf’s.”
Instead, talk about the transformation you offer. That’s what people buy, not because of the features you include!
That said, you do need to include and disclose the level of support you’ll provide. A three-month coaching package typically includes one or two monthly calls, as well as support in between (emails, Voxer, WhatsApp, Google Docs—whatever tool you prefer to use to help your clients get results).
Build a package based on the transformation
Last, your package needs to be built with the end in mind, AKA the transformation clients are signing up for.
For instance, if you help your coaching clients find their dream jobs, your coaching package can look like this:
Month 1 – Establish what type of job they want
This month, your coaching client does different types of exercises to understand what their dream job really is.
Month 2 – Apply to companies
In month 2, you help them apply, network, and get their name out there to help them get closer to their goal, finding a dream job.
Month 3 – Interviewing
In month 3, you help them nail their interviews so that they get accepted by their dream employer.
See how this coaching program focuses on a very specific end goal? That’s what your package should do, too.
Creating a life coaching marketing plan.
4. Create a marketing plan
Your marketing plan can be really straightforward.
You only need to focus on a few sales and marketing activities to get started.
In fact, you should keep it simple and focus on just a few things that actually matter.
A great way to decide what you should focus on is to write a half-page description of someone you would LOVE to work with (even if you’re afraid it’s too good to be true). Do all your future sales and marketing activities with this person in mind.
So if the person you would love to work with is a high-level executive at a big company, you would focus on getting your message out on LinkedIn. If they’re an ambitious woman, you might pitch relevant podcasts with a career focus.
Where does MY ideal client hang out online?
Focus all your efforts on reaching them there.
5. Have your legal contracts in place
You don’t need to have THAT many things in place as a new coach (one of the benefits of this business model), but you do need to have a coaching agreement to send to your clients.
You see, a contract is a way to set your boundaries in the coach-client relationship. If you have it all on paper, it’ll be so much easier to settle any misunderstandings or disputes (fortunately, these are relatively rare).
While you technically can search for a free template online, a safer route is to use a done-for-you, paid-for template. These are a small investment, but worth it in terms of the headspace they offer.
One of my biggest mistakes early on when I started my coaching business was to work with a lawyer who didn’t know anything about the only business world. This seemingly small mistake cost me thousands of dollars.
When you have a contract in place and your first client, use HelloSign, an online contract management tool, to manage your contracts.
Now that you have your legal contracts in place, it’s time to look at the really exciting part…getting your first paying clients!
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for building a
6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!
6. Get your first life coaching clients
When you have all the fundamentals in place (a niche, an offer, a marketing plan, and a contract), you’re ready to start looking for your first clients.
Thankfully, coaches have a powerful advantage when it comes to getting customers, which makes it a lot easier.
Because of the unique nature of a coaching business, there’s a way to reduce your customer acquisition “costs”—as in time, money, and despair—to basically zero.
But before we look more at what you need to do to get your first paying clients, let’s start by looking at what makes you stand out as a coach and attract clients.
Become a stand-out online coach
You see, back when I was a new coach online, I quickly realized something:
The best clients don’t always go to the best coaches.
The best clients go to the best positioned coaches.
As in, the ones who are considered “leaders,” “in demand,” “at the top of their game.”
Who are not just doing good work, but getting recognized for it.
It’s the reason why I was able to go from being *just another* coach, to selling out every coaching package, and doubling, then tripling, and then quadrupling my prices.
To this day, I’ve quickly sold out every large-scale coaching package I offer. And aside from the two years where I decided not to do private coaching, my private coaching has been full without me even having to promote it.
This is what happens when you’re seen as The Coach to go to (or at least one of them).
So that clients stop “interviewing” you to be their coach, and instead they come to you ready to work with you, you’re talked about and considered as one of the top, go-to coaches in your industry, and you attract the highest-quality, most motivated clients, who are happy to pay you and ready to do the work.
Here, I talk more about standing out as a coach:
The easiest way to get life coaching clients
What’s one of the easiest ways to get clients?
Getting interviewed on podcasts. (This is not the only strategy and you could instead focus on publishing guest posts on websites your potential clients frequently visit or building relationships online…the point is that there are plenty of strategies. Focus on one or two and do them well.)
Podcasts are, however, one of the most effective strategies to get your first paying life coaching clients.
But why would anyone want to interview you as a new coach?
Podcasts hosts are constantly looking for new people to interview, and new and valuable information to share with their audience.
Information you can provide.
It doesn’t matter that you’re new in your business. You’re not new to whatever it is you’re doing in your business. You know what you’re talking about!
For instance, my student Ryan got on top podcasts in his industry (real estate investing) and consistently gets clients from them. And my student Kat signed on $5,000 clients using podcasts.
Find podcasts by searching for keywords such as:
“Podcast” + “keyword”
“Top podcasts (year)” + “keyword”
And reach out to podcast hosts with a pitch similar to this one:
“Hi NAME OF PODCASTER,
My name is (your name) and I am (include something relevant about yourself so the podcaster understands why YOU are the right person to feature on their show).
I’d love to set up an interview for (name of the podcast). Here are a few topics that I think your audience would love:
- Podcast topic suggestion 1
- Podcast topic suggestion 2
- Podcast topic suggestion 3
Let me know if these would be interesting to (name of the podcast) listeners?
I talk more about getting dream clients here:
Get word of mouth marketing
In the beginning, you have to “hustle” to get those first paying clients.
The good news is that getting more clients becomes easier and easier the more people you work with.
Once your clients get results, you can ask for testimonials.
70% of people say they trust recommendations from someone they don’t even know. Testimonials can be a powerful way to boost your sales.
They will help you build credibility and make it more attractive for people to sign up for your services because there’s already proof that your coaching helps people get results.
And once the word starts to spread about your coaching, you’ll get referrals. In other words, people will start coming to you instead of you having to chase them.
Ultimately, plenty of my clients have grown their businesses to 6-figure, multiple 6-figure, and 7-figure businesses. And it all started by building these foundations.
For example, my student Briana built a multiple 6-figure business helping people understand their attachment styles for better relationships…
And my student Adunola helps millennials build their dream careers…
While Estelle is an energy healer.
7. Scale your life coaching business
Once you’ve worked with a few clients, you’re ready to scale your life coaching business.
What this means is that you double down on what you’re already doing to hit that 6-figure mark and more, and/or you add on a more scalable service such as group coaching.
To hit 6-figures in an online coaching business is not complicated. (Note that that doesn’t mean it’s easy.)
You don’t need a big team or a big suite of products to cross 6- or multiple 6-figures when you’re selling coaching.
Which means you spend your time becoming a good coach, creating your coaching program (as you work with clients), developing your marketing and sales systems, and then living your life.
A few examples of how I’ve seen past students and clients do it…
Let’s say you have a $3,000 package (for easy math). You will need to make about ~33 sales to cross 6-figures. With this model, you would focus all your time, energy, and content on selling this one offer.
Let’s say you work with a handful of private coaching clients and decide to transition to group coaching. You take what you were teaching your private clients, package it into pdf’s and videos so that your clients can learn the “information” on their own time and then attend group coaching calls with you to get the benefit of your coaching.
This lets you take on more clients and scale your business while still delivering great results (super important).
I’ve had students scale to multiple 6-figures with this model. Where you have a $3,000 to $10,000 (or more) group coaching program. And your focus is on driving people to a systematized sales process that brings the right people into your group coaching program. (Like running Facebook ads to a really good webinar.)
Group coaching and private coaching
Then, you can also combine the two. Maybe you sell group coaching at $3,000 and private coaching at $10,000. If someone takes your group coaching offer and wants more of your time, then they can coach privately with you. You can play with the math.
Basically, it’s some combination of group and private coaching.
Whichever model you choose, you can use it to grow to 6-figures and beyond and replace your salary with your business income.
And in this video I talk more about hitting those $5K-$10K months:
Now you know how to start a life coaching business. But there are probably still a few questions going through your mind. Here are the most frequently asked questions I get about starting a new coaching business:
Questions about starting a life coaching business
How do you know if you need a coaching certification? Do you need a business plan? A website? Get the answer here:
Do you need a life coaching certification?
Are certifications a must if you want to build a life coaching business?
The argument I hear for certifications is that they help lend credibility to coaching, which is an unregulated market.
Certifications are also an unregulated market.
A certification doesn’t give you coaching skills.
Working with clients does.
That’s why I recommend that as a new coach, you offer lower rates instead of getting that experience through a certification.
When you have testimonials from clients (AKA proof that your coaching works), you can raise your rates.
At the same time, you’re developing your coaching skills.
The money you’d put into a certification can be used on developing your business and skills.
So no, you don’t need a certification to get started. If you have one, great, but it’s not a requirement.
However, I want to note here that there are niches where you DO need a certification so make sure that you’re aware of what applies to your niche. Typically, those are niches in the health and mental health spaces.
And if you do decide to get a certification first, make sure you buy it from a credible institution such as The International Coach Federation.
Do you need a life coaching business plan?
Another misconception is that you need a business plan to get started. The answer is: no.
A business plan is a waste of time when you’re first starting to find clients. Your offer might easily change when you talk to more and more people and understand their needs.
Your time is much better spent getting your first paying clients.
That said, if you do choose to create a business plan, make it simple.
Do you need a life coaching website?
How many people do you think will find your website and decide to buy when you’re a new coach?
The answer: zero people.
Your website isn’t why they want to work with you.
YOU are the reason.
I created a website when I had made $20,000 in my business. Before then, I sent people to my LinkedIn page if they wanted to learn more about me.
You don’t need a website right now, either.
If you do set one up, choose a simple theme and just a few pages. Then focus on getting your first clients.
How do you name your life coaching business?
What should you name your business?
This doesn’t need to be overwhelming.
A coaching business is based on you. That’s why it’s completely fine to name your business after yourself. And then use that domain, such as www.yourname.com.
But if you want to go for a name that’s not your name, you’ll need to do some more brainstorming. This life coaching name generator can help you get started.
How much do life coaches charge?
What’s the average life coaching rate?
There’s no right or wrong answer. You charge what you want.
Some coaches charge $1,000, some charge $10,000.
For you as a new coach, the sweet spot might be $1,500 for your first package.
What I don’t recommend is that you charge per month or per hour.
If you charge per hour or month, there’s no end goal that your clients will work towards. And so they don’t value your services as much as if you’re charging per package.
Plus, it’s just a lot harder to build a business with hourly rates. Instead of selling ONE package at $1,500, you’ll need to sell 15 hours at $100.
How do you set up your life coaching company?
Do you need to set up a company when you start your life coaching business? Do you need a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company or something else…?
Again, this can be relatively simple. Lisa Fraley’s Sole Proprietor Biz Registration and Taxes* package helps you register as a sole proprietor, pay taxes, and understand what your legal obligations are as a business owner.
How do you make sure that you’re a great coach?
Finally, how do you make sure you’re a good coach who can actually deliver on results?
(Your client has to do the work. But you have to be able to guide them.)
Honestly, this was my biggest fear as a new coach.
After all, a good coach has to be a true jack-of-many-trades:
Coach, consultant, trainer, Accountability Partner, contractor, manager, and cheerleader.
So how do you master all of these, and quickly, too?
Learn to set boundaries (so that you can coach better)
Part of it is practice, BUT…
Based on my experience personally helping 1,000+ coaches (plus a few thousand more through my courses), the other part includes skills you’ve most likely honed already through living your life.
Which means you actually already have most of the skills to be a great coach.
A common problem most new (and not so new) coaches have:
Completely misunderstanding what it means to be a good coach.
For example, thinking they have to always do more, be available all the time, and respond immediately to their clients.
Otherwise…*gasp*…what if their clients get upset? And demand a refund?
Good thing—especially for our sanity—that that’s not how it works.
Think about it…would you teach your kid by giving them everything they wanted, the moment they wanted it, and then asking if they wanted more of it?
Of course, your clients aren’t kids. But the principle’s the same.
The reason why it feels so weird and different with coaching though?
Is because money’s involved.
So the real fear underlying a lot of this is…
What if my client asks for a refund? What if someone gets upset and ruins my reputation? And then what if I can’t make any more sales?
That’s why learning to set boundaries is one of the most important parts of being a good coach.
Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself burned out, resenting your clients, and maybe even wishing you never have to do coaching again.
When, honestly, coaching done right is one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling, and profitable things anyone can do.
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Coach AND consult to help your clients get results
And to deliver those results, you need to learn how to deliver your coaching.
The traditional coaching model is “Socratic questioning” or helping your coaching client to find the answer themselves.
While this model is still useful, coaching can be combined with an approach that includes consulting to help your clients get faster results.
I call this approach “coach-sulting” and it’s all about helping your clients find out what they really want, while you lend your expertise to show them what steps they need to take to get there.
For instance, if you’d help someone find their dream job, you’d use a more traditional coaching approach to get them to understand what they want. And then a more consulting focused approach to helping them land that job.
Over to you!
There you have it! Now you know how to start a life coaching business.
What it comes down to is that you take consistent steps every day to come up with a niche, offer, and start marketing your business.
Now, I’d love to know:
What’s your #1 question about starting a life coaching business?
Let me know in the comments below!