How to Start a Life Coaching Business
Life coaches tend to be ambitious people with big hearts. They’ve spent a good portion of their professional lives garnering a high degree of expertise in a certain field, and they share their knowledge for profit. You’ll find no shortage of advice on how to start up a life coaching business, but it’s important to first decide whether it’s really a suitable choice for you.
Coaching of any kind is often a hard sell, and passion alone does not translate into profit. However, with the right outlook and modern technology on your side, there’s no reason why you can’t become part of a rapidly developing and highly profitable industry.
The process of building a life coach business plan can be overwhelming, so that’s why we’re going to break it down in bite-size chunks.
In this post, we’ll explain how to:
- The things you need to get started.
- Choose your industry niche
- Define your brand
- Decide you you’ll promote your services
- Build your website
- Market your business
What Do You Need to Become a Life Coach?
While there aren’t any formal credentials required to become a life coach, training and certification can help you stand out and possibly even give you the opportunity to charge higher rates. In fact, professional life coaches in the US earn an average of $61,900 per year according to the International Coach Federation, which is far more than the average wage.
If you’re already serious about starting a life coaching business, then you probably already have ample expertise in the area you want to specialize in. On the other hand, you might not have so much experience sharing that knowledge with others. However, through a combination of life coach training, mentoring and studying related areas, you’ll be able to develop a range of effective coaching strategies.
Studying a closely related field, especially psychology, can be enormously valuable for any would-be life coach, especially if your focus will be on helping people reach their personal goals. If you’re planning to coach business people to help them meet professional goals, however, then some management experience might be more helpful. Above all though, it’s the more personal traits you really need to become a successful life coach, such as patience, empathy and the ability to lead through confidence, decision-making and exceptional organizational skills.
Find Your Niche
Some people confuse life coaches with therapists, but they’re two very different. Therapists explore past problems, helping their clients overcome them. Life coaches, on the other hand, are all about the future, helping their clients achieve a desired outcome, whether that involves furthering their professional lives or helping them achieve more personal goals.
Perhaps the biggest challenge with life coaching (or any kind of coaching for that matter) is that it isn’t really a business by itself. Instead, it’s a skill driven by passion. You’re not selling a tangible product, so it’s especially important to choose a suitable niche, one that you have a very high degree of expertise in. Selling more generalized coaching services, on the other hand, is likely to prove extremely difficult.
Life coaching is a very broad term. Some specialize in health and wellness, some offer spiritual coaching and others might offer career- or business-related services. By homing in on a more specific niche, you’ll be in a much better position to market your services without having to face an overwhelming barrage of competition.
This might feel restrictive if you’re hoping to appeal to a wider audience, but you’ll have a much easier time marketing your business and finding the right clients if you start off with a rigid focus. You can always expand later, but determining a specific niche is the crucial first step towards making a living as a coach. With that foundation in place, you’ll be ready to start defining and building your brand.
Define Your Brand
A brand refers to the distinct style and personality of a business. As a coach, your brand will effectively be a professional extension of yourself, characterized by a specific style that should pervade throughout your business. A brand typically starts with a name and a motto, but it also incorporates many other elements, such as a distinct color palette and set of fonts for your website and other media.
Choosing a name for any business is often a daunting task, and a quick search on Google might leave you thinking that all the best options are taken. Fortunately, you want to be a life coach, so matters should be simpler. Since you’ll be selling your time and expertise to clients, it’s often better to stick with your own name. This will help clients relate to you on a more personal level and form lasting relationships, which should be a key priority for any life coach.
There is, of course, much more to a brand than a name alone. A brand also includes a logo, tagline, typeface and color palette. Don’t confuse brand identity with brand image – the latter refers to your reputation, while your identity is your own unique style and tone. Your brand identity should suit your niche and appeal to the sensitivities and preferences of your target audience.
When defining your brand, one of the best ways to start is by coming up with one or more customer personas. These are profiles of fictitious people who represent your ideal customer. By identifying their pain points, desires, capabilities, demographical attributes and other characteristics, you’ll be better equipped to build a brand identify that appeals to your target audience.
Decide How You’ll Provide Your Services
Life coaches usually work in person with their clients, since it is, after all, a relationship-orientated role. Nonetheless, modern technology greatly increases the potential for reaching out to clients who might otherwise never get a chance to work with you. The broader reach afforded by the internet also means that you can choose to work from an office or from the comfort of your own home.
Furthered by video chat technology such as Skype, the ability to easily work from home has revolutionized the coaching industry. In fact, you can even offer coaching services on a global basis, relying on video conferencing for face-to-face communications with people all over the world. These days, many life coaches exclusively offer their services online, although there are many clients who still prefer to meet in person.
Coaching from home provides a unique set of benefits, including the fact you’ll never have to commute, and you’ll likely end up having much more control over your schedule. On the other hand, you’ll also need to find a way to keep your professional life separate from your personal life, which can be difficult if you don’t have a dedicated home office space where you aren’t likely to be distracted.
However, one on one coaching is not the only way to make a business out of life coaching. You can offer group coaching workshops, which are a great way to introduce people to your services at a reduced rate and in a less threatening way (people feel less pressure if they're in a group), or you can offer things like video courses, Ebooks, or even physical books.
Amazon.com is one of the largest marketplaces in the world (if not the largest) and publishing an eBook on there is a great way to reach a global audience. Creating your own video courses allows you to sell to an unlimited number of people at not much further cost to you once the course is created. Our Bookible platform, for example, has online course creation built in so you can quickly and easily create courses that you can charge people for access to.
Tony Robbins, probably one of the most successful coaches of all time, makes most of his money running group workshops and through his online and video training, so take a leaf out of his book!
Build Your Website
According to local business directory Yelp, 85% of consumers turn to the web to find local businesses. As such, most, if not all, of your marketing will take place online. Your website forms the centerpiece of your digital strategy while also providing potential and existing clients with a useful informational resource. Registering your domain name is the next big step after choosing your brand name.
Fortunately, just about anyone can start a website these days, even if they don’t know a thing about coding and the other inner workings of web design.
Here at Bookible, we don’t just provide an online booking engine; we also provide a range of fully customizable website templates for you to choose from, making it super easy for just about anyone to build their own website. Once you've chosen your template, it’s simply a matter of customizing your new website with your preferred colors, fonts, logo and copy about your business.
From there, you can set up your schedule in our booking system and start accepting online bookings straight away!
Not only that, but our websites come with a range of essential marketing tools built-in. You'll get a blog, an email marketing system which captures visitor's email addresses and sends them an automated email series, and social media sharing and follow buttons on all your pages to easily distribute your content to all your social channels (and encourage other people to also!)
Check out demos of our websites using the links above to see what your new Bookible site will look like.
Grow Your Business
Before you can market your life coaching business, you’ll need to distinguish yourself with a unique value proposition and a specific niche, as we discussed earlier. Any kind of marketing also requires a branded approach, hence the importance of establishing your brand and defining its characteristics early on. You’ll probably end up using a combination of traditional and digital marketing methods to make the biggest impact.
Life coaches sell their expertise to help others, so the ability to demonstrate their knowledge should be the number-one marketing priority. Potential clients want to be sure that you know your field. They want proof that you’re a distinguished expert in your niche, and that’s where the importance of a powerful online marketing strategy comes in. Having a great-looking website is just the start – what really counts is the content.
Business blogging, although time-consuming, is a powerful marketing tool for almost any business, since it helps demonstrate your position as an industry thought leader and boost your visibility in the search engines. However, perhaps the mightiest marketing tool of all for a life coach is an e-book or a video course. Writing an e-book or creating a video course gives you a chance to demonstrate your status and credibility in a way that no other medium can, at an initial cost to the consumer that is very low.
Attracting clients is often the greatest challenge when it comes to marketing a coaching practice. To ensure success, you’ll want to avoid trying to sell your services as a business, but rather as a skill that others can use to further their professional or personal lives.
Among the most powerful ways to attract clients are to leverage references, testimonials and online reviews. To have clients take you seriously, you’ll need to lead by example by being able to demonstrate your skills and their worth.
To get reviews, simply reach out to anyone that you have helped before, and ask them for a written or even a video testimonial. These on your website are one of the best ways to establish immediate credibility with your audience. Up to 85% of people online use reviews to sway their purchasing decisions.
Any sustainable marketing strategy is an ongoing and constantly evolving process that you’ll need to be committed to for the longer term. In fact, in the early stages, you’ll likely be spending far more time on marketing than anything else. It can seem like a thankless job at times, but by using the right tools, you can also automate a good portion of your routine.
That’s exactly why our platform is ideal for coaches. Aside from providing you with a professional website and booking system, it also helps you organize your schedule by taking appointments, scheduling events, handling payments and automating your email and social media marketing strategies.
Starting any kind of business requires a certain mindset and no small amount of patience. Life coaching is also a harder sell than most, but that’s not to say it can’t become an extremely profitable business. Here’s a summary of what you need to make it work:
- Decide what sort of people you want to work with, and choose a specific segment of the market. The more focused your niche, the better.
- Define your brand, taking into consideration your industry and the characteristics, pain points and desires of your target audience.
- Choose whether to offer your services from your own home or a separate office. If you’re planning to sell your services online, you’ll have more flexibility, although the office tends to be the better choice for group coaching.
- Build your website, get your business listed on the top directories and other resources, such as Google My Business, Yelp and Bing Places. Claim your social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
- Market your business through a combination of traditional methods like business cards and online methods like social media, email marketing, business blogging and paid online advertising.
If you want to build a business from scratch the easy way, you might want to consider using Bookible. We provide a complete platform that includes a website, an online booking engine and powerful marketing tools to help you get your business off the ground.
Sign up for a free trial to get your business started!