One of the most popular and rewarding career paths for individuals who are passionate about helping people lead more fulfilling lives and achieve their goals is life coaching. If you are wondering how to start a life coach business in 2023, look no further. This post will walk you through all the steps you need to get started, including"
- Determine Your Niche
- Obtain Certification and Training
- Create a Business and Marketing Plan
- Define your Services and Pricing Model
- Develop a Marketing Plan to Obtain Clients
- Set up your Business Legally
- Launch your Coaching Business!
What is a Life Coach?
Successful life coaches work with clients to provide guidance, support, and motivation to help them make positive changes in both their personal and professional lives.
If you're interested in becoming a life coach and building your own business, there are certain steps you can take to ensure your success.
In this blog post, we'll walk you through the process of starting a life coach business, from determining your niche to launching your business and everything in between.
Determine Your Niche
One of the first things you will need to do as you think about pursuing a career as a life coach is to determine your niche and identify your target market. As a business coach myself, this is one area that I see a lot of my clients struggle with. The problem here is obvious - when you are just getting started in business you want to be everything to everyone and the thought of niching down your practice to one small group of people is terrifying.
In fact, deciding on a small niche is the fastest way to reach success in your life coaching business. The reason for this is also obvious, but counter-intuitive. When you niche down to a certain group of people that you want to help, you are more likely to attract the clients that you most want to help, and repel everyone else.
But the reality is actually quite different. By niching down you will attract the ideal client you most want to work with, but you still find that people outside of this niche will continue to reach out to you. It’s a strange phenomenon, but very common.
So what type of niche should you pursue as a life coach? The possibilities are endless, but I would recommend starting with a group of people that most closely resembles a struggle that you have faced in your own life.
Some possible niches for a life coaching business include:
- Career coaching
- Relationship coaching
- Business coaching
- Health and wellness coaching
- Financial coaching
- Personal development coaching
- Spiritual coaching
- Leadership coaching
- Creativity coaching
It's important to choose a niche that you are passionate about and have experience in, as this will enable you to provide the best possible service to your clients.
Once you have decided on a niche, you should move on to determine if you need to obtain any certification or training.
Obtain Certification and Training
Generally speaking, certification and training are not required to become a life coach. However, obtaining certifications can help you to establish credibility as a certified life coach and gain a competitive advantage in the life coaching industry.
It is also important to understand that in some specific niches, such as health and wellness coaching or financial coaching, certification may be required and failure to obtain proper training could expose you to civil liability.
Therefore, before you launch your life coaching business, it is important to research the certification requirements for your chosen niche.
Create a Business and Marketing Plan
Now that you have a niche that you wish to pursue and have obtained the proper training and certifications, it is always a good idea to develop a life coach business plan.
Many first time entrepreneurs who are just getting started in a new business will skip this all too important step. As someone who has started multiple businesses and developed business plans to help in starting those businesses, I can say that a business plan will help you tremendously.
The purpose of a business plan is to put down in writing the key components of your business. Some of the sections you may want to include are your client story, your personal story, a description of your target audience, the services you intend to offer, how you intend to price your services, your marketing strategy and tactics, and financial projections for your business.
This plan will serve as a roadmap for your business and help you to stay focused on your goals as you launch and grow your coaching practice.
By creating a solid business plan, you can ensure that you have a clear understanding of your target audience and the services you will offer, as well as a plan for reaching and attracting new prospective clients. Additionally, having a business plan will help you to stay organized and focused on your goals, which can be especially important as you navigate the early stages of building your coaching practice.
Define Your Life Coaching Services and Pricing
In general, a life coach offers coaching services. This seems pretty obvious!
But the nature of these coaching services, and how they are structured and priced can vary widely among different coaches. In addition to providing various coaching services, such as: career coaching, relationship coaching, health and wellness coaching, financial coaching, personal development coaching, spiritual coaching, leadership coaching, creativity coaching and more, a life coach can also create their own unique curriculum and service offerings.
Most first-time life coaches will start by working with individual coaching clients and bill on a per session or per hour basis. This is the easiest and most straightforward approach to building a life coaching business. The benefits of this approach is that you can give personalized services to your clients and learn more about what they want and need. In this way you can start to build a curriculum and standardized processes that you can use with all of your clients. You can also get a sense of what type of clients you enjoy working with vs. clients that you are less fond of.
Over time, as you get busier and busier, you can start to raise your rates, thus weeding out clients that you might find more difficult or less enjoyable to work with.
The downside to this approach is that your income is limited by the number of clients your work with and the amount you are able to charge. Also, if you decide to take a vacation or are unable to work with clients for an extended period of time, you won’t be earning any income.
For many life coaches, the solution to this dilemma is to build online courses, or group coaching programs to sell. By doing this, you can work less and earn more. Instead of working with 10 clients per week for $100 each (i.e. $1,000/week in income) you can build a group coaching program where you work with as many clients as you can legitimately handle for a lower fee.
Imagine working with 50 clients in a group coaching program where you meet with those clients once a week and charge $100 per month. In this scenario, you earn $5,000 per month for 4 hours of client time, vs. $4,000 per month for 40 hours of client time under the 1x1 client model. Which sounds better to you?
But before you can start earning the big bucks, you need to figure out how you are going to get those clients…
Develop a Marketing Plan to get Life Coaching Clients
This is where the rubber really meets the road. If you want to build a life changing coaching business (for both you and your clients) you need to get clients. While there are a seemingly endless number of marketing tactics that you can use to develop your business, here are some of the most tried and true methods.
Create a website
It should come as no surprise that a website is absolutely essential for your business. And the sooner you can build and start adding content to your website, the better. There are many tools available to make sure your website looks professional and is easy to navigate. You will also want to register a domain name that is catchy and easy to remember.
As you start to build your website, you should make sure it includes the following fundamental pages:
- Contact Us - Allows potential new clients to fill out a form to connect with you, or better yet, embed your calendar so that clients can schedule a call directly with you. I recommend using a service such as Acuity Scheduling or Calendly to connect your calendar.
- About Page - This is a page where you can tell your story, why you became a life coach, and what it is that might make a client want to work with you.
- Services Page - You can indicate what services and packages you offer. Even if you are just starting out, you may want to offer various options, such as a free get to know you call, a one-off coaching session, and a 5 or 10 session package that clients’ can pay for in advance and receive a slight discount.
- Website Terms of Service - This is a contract between you and the visitors of your website. This is absolutely essential to avoid unforeseen legal issues and to protect your intellectual property.
- Legal Disclaimers - As a life coach, you will be dispensing advice and guidance to your clients. Having legal disclaimers on your website can help to protect you from potential lawsuits.
- Email Opt-In - You need a way to communicate with your potential customers and clients. Email is a great way to do this. In order to build your email list, you will need to develop a quick opt-in that you can add to your website. In exchange for their email address, you will provide them with a short freebie, mini-training, or something else of value that they can consume quickly. Once on your email list, you can follow-up with them via an autoresponder sequence. My preferred vendor for email marketing is Convertkit.
Social Media Platforms
Social media can be a great way to connect with potential clients and share your expertise. But before you just start randomly posting on social media, you may want to think about the best way to do this strategically.
To do this, you must refer back to your target demographic and determine where they are most likely to “hang out”. If you are targeting consumers (think weight loss, financial coaching, health and wellness, etc.) then Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and/or Youtube may be great places to post. If you are targeting business professionals, then LinkedIn may be a better choice.
Once you have chosen a platform, then you should decide what you will post and how often. Social media can be overwhelming and all-consuming. My best recommendation is to pick one platform and focus all your efforts there.
If you don’t want to show your face, then writing and posting photos on Instagram or Facebook could be a good option. If you don’t mind recording yourself for video, then Youtube is a great choice. Short, value-packed content through Reels, Tik Tok and Youtube shorts are also great ways to get yourself in front of your target customers.
Consider creating a Facebook page or LinkedIn profile for your business, and regularly post helpful tips and insights.
This one may seem like a little more up-front work, but trust me, it will pay off big time if you upload consistently and can build a loyal following. There are few things that are more intimate that being in someone’s ear for an extended period of time while they are driving to work, walking the dog or even doing the dishes. If you don’t like showing your face on camera, or aren’t big on writing, then a podcast may be a great marketing option for you. I know coaches who have built there entire business on the back of their podcast and their podcast alone.
When you upload a podcast episode, you can repurpose that content as a blog post, quote cards on Instagram/Facebook, and even on Youtube as an audio only video.
In addition, you can leverage your podcast to get guest spots on other podcasts, and invite guests onto your show.
Recommended Resource: Podcast Guest Agreement Template
Starting and building a podcast will allow you to reach a wider audience, build trust and credibility with your listeners, and establish yourself as an authority in your chosen niche. Additionally, podcasting can be a great way to provide valuable content to your audience and showcase your expertise in a more intimate and engaging format.
Free Workshops or Webinars
Many people would like you to believe that webinars are dead but I’m here to tell you that they absolutely are NOT. Webinars are one of the best ways to showcase your expertise and attract potential clients to your coaching business.
Offering free workshops or webinars is a great way to showcase your expertise and attract potential clients. Make sure the topic is relevant to your niche and target audience, and promote the event through your website and social media.
You may be wondering, “how will I get people to watch my free workshop?”
Great question, and it won’t happen overnight. This is something you will want to notify your email subscribers about, as well as the people that follow you on social media. You can present your webinar through Facebook or Youtube for free when you are just getting started.
Ideally, as your business starts to grow, you can use these events to build your email list and use a service such as Webinar Jam to conduct your webinars.
Write a Book
What? Am I smoking something?
No, hear me out. Writing a book has been the single best investment I have ever made in my business. It is the best business card you could ever hand out to your clients and customers.
I practiced family law for years before starting this website and building my trademark law firm. I wrote a book on divorce and I still get referrals and calls from people seeking a legal separation even though I stopped taking those clients years ago.
And it is easier than you think, especially if you are writing about a topic such as life coaching.
Here is the process:
- Do a search on Amazon for other life coaching books in the niche you are thinking about entering. Buy those books. Make sure you aren’t getting books on “how to start” a life coaching business, as those aren’t going to help you.
- Make note of interesting topics from the table of contents.
- Create a preliminary outline of your book - I recommend using Scrivener to write the book.
- Set a word goal. For an initial book, 30,000-50,000 words is solid.
- Set a deadline to finish the initial draft. All of this can be tracked in Scrivener.
- Add 30-60 days to your initial deadline to edit the book and prepare it for listing on Amazon KDP.
- Notify your email list and social media channels of what you are doing.
- Get to work and hit that deadline!
I just finished the first draft of my third book and am about to start editing. If I can do this, you can do this.
Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools available, especially for life coaches. The best way to seek out referrals is to think about the different professionals that might also work with your potential clients and then ask them to coffee or lunch. If your countries are across the country, then these meetings may need to be virtual - which is perfectly fine.
The key here is to develop relationships with strategic partners that also serve your ideal clients. Collaborations on your podcast or social media channels is another great way to build your network.
After you get a few clients, you will want to build a system to make sure you ask your best clients for referrals, and consider offering a discount or other incentive for clients who refer others to you.
Remember, the key to successful marketing is to understand your target audience and tailor your approach accordingly. Take the time to research your niche and the needs of your target audience, and develop a marketing strategy that speaks directly to them.
Set Up Your Business Legally
Setting up your business legally is not as hard as you think, but it will take some time and money. There are 4 main areas that you will need to consider, and I cover all of these in depth in my LOCK it Down® (legal) Toolkit. But I will give you a quick overview here:
- Set up a Legal Foundation
- Protect your Online Presence
- Draft the right Contracts
- Keep Your IP safe
Set up a Business Structure with a sound Legal Foundation
Since you are going to be working with clients and giving advice, I do recommend setting up an LLC (i.e. a Limited Liability Company) as opposed to operating as a sole proprietorship. Depending on the state you live in and whether you choose to hire a lawyer, this could vary in price from less than $100 to $1,000 or more.
Once you have your LLC setup, you will need to:
- Get an EIN Number
- Draft an Operating Agreement
- Open a Bank Account
- Calendar important deadlines
I’m not going to go into specifics for all these topics on this blog post, but you can review this post for more information on how to set everything up.
Protect your Online Presence
Draft the Right Contracts
When you are just getting started as a life coach, you don’t need a ton of contracts, but you need the right contracts.
Hiring a lawyer to draft a custom contract will frequently run anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 or more, depending on the length and complexity of the contract. Most lawyers don’t have an intimate knowledge of what it means to run a life coaching business, so their contracts may be overkill for what you really need.
For this reason, the easiest way to get legally protected is by purchasing a contract template. Honestly, this may may be a smart and relatively inexpensive alternative to hiring a lawyer to draft a custom contract.
Using legal contract templates is not only more affordable than hiring a lawyer, they can also provide a good starting point for creating a contract that is tailored to your specific needs as a life coach, and they can help to ensure that you include all the necessary legal language to protect your business.
Regardless of which option you choose, you will want to make sure that your coaching contract includes the following information:
- Outlines your services and prices
- Identifies your client
- Clearly explains how and when payments will be due
- Contains a refund and chargeback policy
- Protects your intellectual property
- Contains a dispute resolution and choice of law provision (especially important when dealing with out of state clients)
Our Life Coaching Client Contract Template contains everything you need to make sure your new business is legally protected.
Keep Your IP Safe
Normally, I would include protecting your intellectual property near the top of this list of legal protections you need. However, most life coaches operate under their personal name as opposed to a brand name. When you are just getting started, you probably don’t need to worry about a trademark for your coaching business.
But as you start to gain traction and think about creating a group coaching program, branded workshops or even a signature course, you will want to invest in your brand. The best way to do this is through a federally registered trademark.
That being said it is never too early to start the process of protecting your personal brand with a trademark also. Having a trademark for your personal brand allows you to establish yourself as a unique and recognizable authority in your coaching niche. A registered trademark allows you to keep others from using your brand name or a similar name, which can help to avoid confusion in the marketplace and protect your reputation.
Additionally, having a trademark can help to increase the value of your business and make it more attractive to potential investors or buyers should you decide to one day sell off your practice.
To learn more about trademarks or how to protect your personal brand, click here.
Launch Your Business
Ok, now you have the basics on everything you need to get your life coaching business off the ground. So get out there and do it! Getting your first client is probably the best feeling in the world, and is your first step in becoming a successful life coach.
As always, if you need any help from a legal standpoint, our team at One Stop Legal™ is here to help!