Start a life coaching business

Want to become a Life Coach? 5 questions to answer + free checklist + business template

Curious about starting a life coaching business? It’s a powerful way to earn an income while helping individuals reach their goals. To help you decide if life coaching is right for you, take a few minutes to learn about the opportunity and what it involves.

become a life coach

Starting a life coaching business: 5 common questions and answers

To evaluate if life coaching is right for you, there are five critical questions you need to explore. Use this section to start your research process.

  1. What do life coaches do?
  2. How do life coaches get clients?
  3. How do I start a life coaching company?
  4. How much money do life coaches make?
  5. Is there a checklist for starting a life coaching business?

1. What do life coaches do?

what do life coaches do?

Fundamentally, a life coach works with individuals to make progress on their goals. Usually, coaches help clients develop new skills. Unlike consultants or freelancers, coaches do not perform work for the client. The coach is focused on helping the client develop skills.

For example, a person might seek a life coach to improve their communication skills. The coach would not write a speech or email for a client – instead, the coach would typically provide feedback and guidance.

To succeed as a coach, you must have exceptional communication skills, including listening to your client and providing thoughtful feedback carefully. A successful life coach also typically has specific experiences, or certifications to add rigor to their program.

2. How do life coaches get clients?

how do coaches get clients

There are multiple strategies that life coaches use to attract clients. A life coach will usually use a combination of outbound and inbound strategies. An outbound strategy means reaching out to a potential client and making an offer to them. On the other hand, an inbound strategy means creating content that inspires potential clients to contact you. Let’s take a closer look at a few specific examples.

2.1 Outbound strategies to get life coaching clients

  • Your network

Success in life coaching requires a trusting relationship between you and the client. Therefore, it is often best to start with people who already know, like, and trust you.Start by defining your life coaching offering (“I help professional women over 30 develop healthy stress management habits”). Next, create a spreadsheet and make a list of 20 people you know in your target market (i.e., professional women over 30). Your next step is to send out personalized messages to each person and invite them to a session. Offering a low-priced session is wise to gain experience when you first start.

  • Proactive referrals

It is much easier to start that relationship when a friend refers you to their accountant, lawyer, or real estate agent. The same principle applies to life coaching. After you have two or three clients, make it a priority to ask for referrals. Use the following script to ask for referrals by email or private social media message. Adapt the script to reflect your specific life coaching business and situation.

Hi ‘Name’, I hope our coaching session last Monday helped you progress your weight loss goal. To help you progress, you might want to consult “365 Days of Positive Self-Talk for Weight-Loss” by Shad Helmstetter Ph.D. It’s one of my favorites. While I’m writing, I have a question for you. Do you know one or two other professional women between 30-40 in New York who are actively working on weight loss? If somebody comes to mind, reply “yes,” and I’ll guide you to the next step.

2.2 Inbound strategies to get life coaching strategies

In the long term, attracting life coaching strategies through content marketing and social media is a great way to keep growing your company. After you speed some time creating high-quality content, you’ll eventually start getting clients reaching out to you! In this example, we’ll assume your life coaching business is focused on divorced men starting the next chapter of their lives.

  • Choose a content medium that suits you

There are three main options for simplicity: text, video, or audio. Ask yourself which format applies the most to you. For example, focusing on text-based media like blogging makes sense if you already have highly developed writing skills. If you prefer to talk through your ideas, a podcast (i.e., an audio option) or YouTube channel (i.e., a video option) may be a better choice.

  • Publish ten resources

Publish at least ten resources such as blog posts, videos, or podcasts to create your marketing foundation. After you complete this initial batch of content, commit to regularly publishing new content each month. Each piece of content you publish has the potential to attract new clients to your business.

  • Promote your content on social media

After creating your initial content, it is time to start promoting it on social media. As you promote your content online, think carefully about where your target audience spends time. For example, your clients might spend their time in Slack groups, Facebook groups, or other places. Make a list of these places and share your content where potential clients are likely to see it.

When possible, share a link to your content in reply to questions that other people have posted. Note that some social media groups have rules concerning self-promotion: pay attention to those rules.

  • Contribute your insights to a larger platform

When you first start a life coaching business, your online presence might be quite small. To grow your business faster, look for opportunities to contribute to websites, podcasts and channels with a larger audience. For example, a life coach focused on executives might reach out to the Excellent Executive Coaching podcast

Tip: Pitching yourself as a podcast guest takes confidence! Your pitches may not be accepted every time. You can increase your odds of success on getting on a podcast by listening to a few episodes of the show and checking if the podcast regularly features guests.

3. How do I start a life coaching company?

How do I start a coaching company?

Unlike accounting or law, there are no formal regulations governing life coaches. As a result, anybody can call themselves a life coach and seek out clients. As of 2022, IBIS World estimates that there are more than 18,000 life coaches in the United States! With so many life coaches in the market, standing out against the competition may feel challenging.

Starting your life coaching business takes two kinds of preparation: business setup and life coaching expertise. For example, you may have to pay a fee for a business license in your area. You also need to find an easy way for clients to pay you like using CheckYa.

There are a few ways to develop your life coaching expertise. Get started by using the following strategies.

3.1 Pay for several life coaching sessions with different people

Cost: Several hundred dollars

Spending a few hundred dollars on life coaching sessions is an invaluable experience for a new experience. Not only will you receive advice to help you improve your life, but you will also learn what it is like to be coached yourself. As you go through these coaching sessions, take note of what you like and dislike in each experience. For example, you might like that some coaches recommend books and other resources to their clients.

3.2 Listen to life coaching podcasts

Cost: None

There are many podcasts dedicated to the art of life coaching. Check out these free podcasts to learn about different methodologies.

3.3 Read life coaching books

Cost: None if you find the books at a local library.

These are some of the best-reviewed and most commonly used life coaching books. Make sure you study each of these books as you get your business started.

3.4 Invest in a life coaching certification

After you spend a few days or weeks studying podcasts and books, you have a decision to make. If you are still excited about starting and growing a life coaching business, you may want to invest in earning a certification. Earning a certification can take time and energy, so do your homework first! Speak with a few life coaches who have the certification you consider and ask them about their experiences.

The most popular life certification programs include:

In some situations, you may find it necessary to pursue specialized coaching. For example, there are special programs to help people overcome financial difficulties like managing debt.

When you first start your life coaching company, use free high-quality resources like podcasts and books.

4. How much money do life coaches make?

How much money does coaches make?

It is difficult to give a meaningful answer because people run their life coaching businesses differently. For example, a relatively new life coach who only works with a handful of people may earn less than $1,000 per month at first. At the other end of the spectrum, a highly experienced life coach might have created ebooks, online courses, and group coaching programs and earn much more.

The average hourly fees life coaches charge vary depending on their field of study. Julia Stewart at the School of Coaching Mastery reports that life coaches make $160 per hour, business coaches charge over $235 per hour, and executive coaches earn over $300 per hour. As a new life coach, your fees are likely to be lower such as $100 per hour. In terms of annual income, coaches can earn over $100,000 as they gain experience.

5. Is there a checklist for starting a life coaching business?

Checklist for coaching business

To start a life coaching business, use this checklist of steps.

5.1 Clarify your motivation

Success in a life coaching business will take significant effort, study, and patience. It is crucial to spend some time up front to clarify why you want to start a business. For example, you might have an impressive track record of changing careers in your 40s and want to help others change careers. That personal experience may inform your goals.

5.2 Participate in 3 coaching sessions

Before you offer coaching services to others, put yourself in the shoes of a coaching client. With this experience, you will find it easier to relate to your clients. Choose a life coach with the expertise to help you with an important goal.

5.3 Read two coaching books

The life coaching business has grown in sophistication over the last few decades. Pick two books from the recommended books above to learn about coaching. Take notes about the methodologies and strategies that appeal the most to you as you read.

5.4 Listen to 2 coaching podcasts

Podcasts are an excellent way to learn more about the latest practices in coaching. Pick a few podcasts and spend some time listening to them as you get into the profession. In addition to the direct learning experience, you might also discover new people to network in the coaching community.

5.5 Find a coaching program accredited by the ICF

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is one of the most respected coaching organizations in the world. Set your new life coaching business on the right footing by registering in an educational program accredited by the ICF. Browse the free education search service website to find ICF accredited programs.

5.6 Set up your business structure

There may be different requirements to create a business depending on where you live. In many cases, the simplest and most affordable way to create a business is to set up a sole proprietorship.

To find out the requirements in your area, do a Google search like this “register a business [location]” (i.e., register a business California). For example, the California Secretary of State website provides a helpful step-by-step process to start a company in the state.

5.7 Start with straightforward pricing

As a brand new life coach, keep life simple with a simple hourly rate. Charging $100 to $200 per hour is a good starting point for most life coaches. You might also offer discounted “launch pricing,” such as 50% off for your first three to five clients.

5.8 Set up a payment system

Make life easy for your clients by using an online payment system like CheckYa. You can send unlimited invoices with CheckYa. You can accept payments from clients around the world.

5.9 Reach out to your network

Your final step is to reach out to your network to announce you have started a life coaching business. It is best to send personal messages to people who are a fit for your services. For example, executive coaches working with chief financial officers (CFOs) should not waste their time reaching out to salespeople or interns.

Organize your company with our free business plan template

Your life coaching business is more likely to succeed when using this frozen business plan template. Aim to come up with about one paragraph of notes under each heading. Your business plan can remain informal because you’re unlikely to show it to anybody else when you first get started.

Business plan template

  1. Choose your business name
  2. Create your ideal client profile
  3. Discover your client’s pain points
  4. Define your solution
  5. Identify your competition
  6. Choose your revenue streams
  7. Select your marketing activities
  8. Estimate your revenue streams

  • Choose your business name

Many life coaches name their company after themselves (e.g., Jane Smith Life Coach). You can use that approach or name your business in other ways, like focusing on your target market (e.g., Executive Women Coaching Services).

  • Create your ideal client profile

Write out a short description of your client to quickly find potential people who are a good fit for your company. Write out your client’s age, income bracket, level of education, family situation (e.g., single, married, etc.), career, and location.

For example: I will serve married women between the ages of 35-55 who are in professional careers and earning over $100,000 in the United States.

  • Discover your client’s pain points

Spend some time thinking about the specific problems your clients are experiencing. For example, you might focus on helping entrepreneurs improve their delegation and leadership skills. If you are uncertain about your potential client’s pain points, get on the phone with a few people who fit your ideal client profile and ask them about their pain points.

For example: My clients are struggling with managing all of their life responsibilities. They feel like they don’t have enough “me time” to be happy.

  • Define your solution

Write out a short description of your life coaching services. For example, you might offer a 4-hour coaching package for $500. Your package might include video conference calls and resource recommendations to help your clients succeed. You might also want to include notes on the coaching methodology you prefer (e.g., focus on goal setting and active listening).

  • Identify your competition

There are thousands of life coaches in the US. Some might have a similar ideal client profile to your business. Make a list of 3-5 specific life coaches and review their websites, pricing, and marketing strategies. This will help you develop ideas to market your business.

You can find life coaches easily by searching the ICF credentialed coach finder.

  • Choose your revenue streams

At first, your life coaching business will probably only have one revenue stream: providing one-on-one coaching services to clients. Over time, you can add new revenue streams. For inspiration, see our post on passive income ideas.

  • Select your marketing activities

Choose one to three marketing activities that you can sustainably perform week in and week out to grow your business. Check out our post – The Ultimate Guide to Getting Coaching Clients in 2022! – for specific ways, you can get more clients.

  • Estimate your business expenses

As a life coach, it’s entirely possible to start your company with minimal expenses. For example, you can work from home and take coaching calls through your laptop. You may have some expenses to set up a website, earn a coaching credential and invest in marketing. As your business grows in complexity, use our A-Z Guide to Managing Your Finances to stay organized.

Two Ways To Use CheckYa To Run A Stress-Free Business

Starting a life coaching business takes a lot of work. Fortunately, CheckYa can ease your burden in two critical ways.

As a life coach, it is crucially important to start organized with your appointments. Your clients can book appointments with you directly through CheckYa. That means you don’t have to waste time emailing back and forth trying to find a time that works for both of you.

Finally, CheckYa makes it easy to send invoices to clients and get paid. For example, your clients might want to sign up for ongoing weekly or monthly life coaching. With CheckYa, you can easily send recurring invoices to clients, which means less administrative work.

To sign up for CheckYa click here!

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