All the basics to start a life coaching business.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about coaching has been seeing massive changes in my clients while earning a meaningful income for myself.
While I currently focus primarily on business coaching, I have also been a mentor in the past, related more to personal development, spirituality and relationships. There’s definitely a fine line to be drawn between professional mental health advice and life coaching.
I’ve used therapy multiple times in my life for various reasons, and nothing can replace the consistent and safe help from someone in the therapy space.
That said: life coaching serves a different purpose. In my opinion, therapy tends to address the past, and plays a passive, but empowering role in self awareness. With life coaching, however: you’re getting someone truly on your TEAM. A partner in personal development, instead of a distant mentor.
So as a life coach – you can spur powerful and much needed growth in someone’s life. Growth they might not obtain from other, traditional resources.
Interested in starting a life coaching business? Start here.
One: Check your mindset before you start a life coaching business
In order to help someone else achieve goals and growth in their own lives – and confidently charge for your services – you need to stay on top of your own mindset.
It’s critically important to your success that you take the time to establish healthy mindset routines. Even a few minutes of journaling, meditation, or reading per day can lift you into a positive, growth-oriented space.
Equally important is to remember to take care of yourself; if you are drained, stressed, and tapped out, you’ll struggle to show up and shine in your business.
Two: Establish your niche when you start a life coaching business
This is something that might evolve over time, but clarity about your niche is very important.
This means that, while you want to give attention to establishing your niche when you start out, don’t overthink it.
Start out by considering your own expertise and life experiences; then look for profitable market areas where those experience can really help someone else.
To do this, follow these two steps:
Choose specific types/sets of problems that you will solve
Considering your own strengths, skills, and experiences – what kinds of problems do you want to coach clients through?
Some possible problem sets include:
- Health and fitness
- Business and career
- Love and relationships
- Trauma and grief
- Life basics (such as time management, clutter issues, etc.)
Think about your ideal client
If you have a firm ideal of the kind of person you would like to work with, your messaging and sales copy can be geared to attract that sort of person. So, take some time to narrow down who you are working with. Consider:
- Basic demographics
- Socio-economic status
- Family situation
- Level of education
- Any details unique to your niche
Don’t overthink it!
Once you have an general idea of your niche and audience, move on for now. Don’t get stuck on this – and stay open to change and evolve as your business grows!
Three: Consider coaching training/certification when you start a life coaching business
Post this question in a Facebook group, and you’ll get 100 different answers depending on the group.
“Do I need a certification to be an effective and trusted life coach?”
My biased answer? Is heck no. You need results, and a genuine interest in helping people.
That said – there are some pros AND cons to getting a certification, and I’ll discuss these in detail below.
Pursuing a coaching certification, while not essential, can have certain benefits:
- Adding perceived value. A client who is scoping you out may be reassured by a certificate; in our society, we’re conditioned to put more trust in someone who’s got a piece of paper to prove their competence. While that is becoming much less true in today’s economy, it can still be something that you can leverage to build trust with new clients.
- Boosting your own confidence. Knowing, and being able to prove, that you have specialized training in life coaching might give your confidence the kick that it needs for you to really show up for your people. Only you know if this would be the case for you.
The main reasons you would NOT want to work toward a coaching certification are:
- It’s unnecessary. There is no law, oversight committee, or fairy godmother who will shut you down for not being certified. It’s entirely optional.
- It’s unnecessary. You don’t need a certification to be an amazing, successful coach; you need results and a disposition to help and guide others.
- Not to belabor the point, but it’s unnecessary. When you are starting a fledgling business, it may not make sense to sink thousands of dollars and many hours into a certification that is not key to your success.
Four: Set up your basic tech and platform
You won’t want to get carried away, but you’ll need some basics in place.
Generally speaking, you need:
- A place online to market yourself – whether you’re online or in-person
- A place to gather and communicate with prospects, leads and customers
- An ongoing way of finding new clients
More specifically, you might look into the following:
- A website and/or blog
- Social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, YouTube, and Pinterest can all be good places to establish a presence.
- Conferencing software – think Zoom or something similar
- Course platform/checkout – Teachable and Thinkific are common ones to use
- A powerful calendar – I recommend Asana
- A payment gateway – ThriveCart is a comprehensive solution, or you might simply use Venmo or Paypal, depending on your needs.
Five: Build an audience
There are many different ways of building an audience.
Maintaining a blog, that is optimized to build an email list, is an important component to starting a life coaching business.
Your blog posts provide value to potential clients and let them get to know you and what you offer in a low-pressure environment. Your email list gives you even more opportunity to provide value and let people get to know you.
A social media presence will be absolutely necessary for you to start an online life coaching business. That’s the best place to find clients, and build that critical know, like, and trust factor with them.
Spending time in relevant Facebook groups gives you tons of opportunities to provide top-notch value to people who would benefit from your services. Establishing your OWN group can be even better – I highly recommend doing this.
Now, please note that you should NEVER spam Facebook groups or self-promote in them unless that is explicitly allowed. It’s a huge turnoff to people, it’s rude, it’s usually against the rules, and it will probably get you thrown out. Just don’t.
Instead, just engage. Answer people’s questions, ask your own questions, and people will begin to know you. They will then tend to seek you out online, and find your own Facebook group, your blog, or your personal profile, and you can further build the relationship from there.
Pinterest is a little different from social media, in that it’s not really a place to get to know people.
Really, it’s more of a traffic machine – which is something you want if you are going to drive potential clients to your blog and email list!
Sometimes people categorize Pinterest as social media, but in reality it is a very powerful visual search engine. No matter your niche, you can establish a strong presence on Pinterest for your life coaching business, and use that platform to drive ample traffic to your website – where you can convert them into paying clients.
Six: Create an offer
Once you know what problems you will solve, who you will solve them for, and how you will find clients, the next step is to create your first coaching offer.
When you are first starting a life coaching business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the different possible offers you could do.
The first step to break this down is to do some market research.
Remember those Facebook groups I told you to hang around in, answering questions and getting to know people in your niche? Those groups (and your own group, if you have one) are the PERFECT place to find out exactly what kind of problems your people are facing, the things that haven’t worked, and what they really need.
You can use this research to develop your first product idea.
Next, put together some initial materials – and launch!
Once you have your idea, you’ll put together some basics for your life coaching program/offer.
- a killer sales page
- a way for potential clients to have a conversation with you to see if you are a good fit
- a checkout page
- some way of delivering your coaching.
- you DON’T need to have every detail in place before you start selling.
With that in place, it’s time to put yourself out there on whatever channels you have set up for yourself.
Hopefully, by now you have some blog readership, some email subscriptions, and/or an active Facebook group of your own. These are all great places to offer your first product.
When you first start your life coaching business (and really, every time you introduce a new offer), you are both selling your services and also still proving this offer and doing market research.
If it sells – you have yourself a proven offer that you can develop out, continue to sell, and use to build your business.
If it doesn’t sell, don’t worry about it! It happens to everyone sometimes. It’s not a failure; it’s just data that you can use to make your NEXT launch a success.
Seven: Scaling/growth AFTER you start a life coaching business
Once your business has a few proven offers that are selling consistently and getting great results for your clients, it’s time to think about scaling your business.
“Scaling” your business refers to the process of increasing your profits and sales, without necessarily adding to your workload. (If you are a business nerd, this Wikipedia article explains scalability more thoroughly.)
There are 4 main ways to scale your life coaching business:
When you start a life coaching business, you need to establish a reliable way to attract the right people to you, and your own thriving Facebook group can do exactly that.
Your own group is also a great way to scale your business.
As your group grows – which it will, if you consistently work at it and provide top-notch value – you will have an organically growing, ever-increasing pool of folks who are already interested in your services. This gives you the opportunity to have more successful launches without any additional time or money outlay.
Joint ventures and affiliates
For a joint venture, you and another coach will band together just to work on a particular project. For example, if you have a killer course, and Coach X has a huge platform, you can work together, selling your product on their platform, and divide the profits between you.
If you bring on affiliates for your program, you offer others the opportunity to market your products themselves, and in exchange, they get a cut out of each sale they make (tracked via individual affiliate links). This can work very well, and be a win for everyone involved – especially since there is no limit to how MANY affiliates you can have marketing your materials.
When you are selling your time, as you do when you are coaching clients 1:1 or in small groups, there is a limit to how many you can take on – and that limit can cap how much your business can ultimately grow.
On the other hand, you can create courses, memberships, and other group programs that can allow you to provide coaching to an unlimited amount of people. This means that your business and income can grow unfettered by the limits of your schedule.
Running paid advertising, usually on a platform like Facebook or Pinterest, is a classic and highly effective way to scale your business.
Done correctly, paid advertising can bring a flood of new clients and exponentially increase your revenue.
And, if you are running ads to something that is already complete, like a course, this can crank up your income with very little additional time invested on your part.
Eight: Legal details to start a life coaching business
Important: I am not a lawyer, and this advice does not substitute for professional legal counsel.
While you don’t need to get hung up on this, you don’t want to neglect it, either. I recommend speaking to a lawyer to be sure you are all squared away, but in general, you should be sure that:
- You know how you will handle your legal and tax status. Most coaches start out as a sole proprietorship, but some may choose to establish an LLC right off the bat.
- You post important disclaimers and disclosures on your website. If you are not qualified to provide medical or legal advice, you need to clearly state that so there is no confusion – like I did, above. You also need to disclose how you will use your clients’ personal information, post a copyright notice, and establish terms and conditions for use of your website.
- Decide if you need any kind of insurance, in case you get sued. Not every coach opts for this, but it is something to consider.
- Draw up a contract. A clear contract will make for a better coaching experience for you AND your client.
Need more support?
These tips will give you a strong start to your life coaching business! If you have anything to add or questions, feel free to drop me a comment below.
And, if you need anymore information on getting high-ticket clients either through a blog or through social sales, book a chat with me at: https://AlisonReeves.Co/strategy-call
2 thoughts on “How to Start a Life Coaching Business Online”
Thank you very much for this beautiful article. This is really great & helpful. I appreciate your thoughts & ideas. Awesome ideas help people to do some things new.
Hi, I am not ready to start the legal stuff in terms of taxes and such as I want to start as a hobby business and would like to know the income earning threshold for that before I can report it? As I work another job, and only plan on doing this side hobby (eventually business) a couple days a month on days I am not working my other job. I live in Canada.