Owning your own business is one of the most rewarding ways to make a living. Owning a business that helps people improve their day-to-day lives, make progress towards their goals, and actively chase their dreams…that’s something on a whole different level. Life Coaching is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the world, with an average yearly growth of nearly seven percent. It’s an impressive statistic. Especially when you consider that globally, the number of life coaches went up by 33% between 2016 to 2020. If you’re looking to become a life coach there are several different paths you can take. 

First: What is a life coach, anyway?

A life coach works with clients to improve their performance. This can mean helping them with personal decisions and issues. It can mean helping to navigate emotional situations. Or it can apply to technical and professional matters, like helping folks walk through the next career move. The industry — and your clients — can be catered to the things you’re best suited to help out with. 

There are plenty of people who want to become a life coach, but many don’t know how. Jumping in too quickly isn’t setting yourself up for success. Below we’ll walk you through some steps you’ll need when starting your small business, some frequently asked questions, and some best practices for being a life coach. 

Get Life Coach Certification

Life coaching isn’t a regulated industry. While some people have a natural tendency towards the practice, getting certified is a way to differentiate yourself from the others out there and learn valuable tools of the trade.  

Both life coaches and clients know that holding a certification from a professional coaching team means that you’ve taken the time to study and master material relevant to their interests. Having certification will separate you from the pack and demonstrate expertise in the field.

Organizations such as the ICF Coaching Federation, iPEC coaching, and the Health Coach Institute ensure a uniform standard for their coaches. 

Choose Your Niche

What do you excel at in your own life? What would people turn to you to teach them about? While it’s tempting to be a life coach for everyone, finding your niche and excelling at it is how you’re going to develop a reputation, especially when starting out. Your niche should be a combo of your expertise, experience, and passion. Below are some areas you might focus on. 

  • Relationships: including romantic, business, marriage, divorce
  • Business: ranging from building a business, growing it, buying or selling a business
  • Career: understanding how to position your career in the short run and the long run, when to ask for a promotion, when to jump to a new company
  • Spirituality: from traditional religion to general spiritualistic beliefs
  • Work-Life Balance: including family, career, and other areas like Spirituality and Health
  • Health and Fitness: eating, sleeping, and working out

Register Your Business

While it’s good to get certified, people get into Life Coaching in different ways. Some people make a conscious effort to enter the business.  Others fall into it gradually, realizing they can monetize advice they have been giving for years.  Registering your business is a formal decision to help make Life Coaching a real job. You can learn more about it here.

Set up a plan for your Life Coaching Business

If you’re going to teach people how to improve their lives, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got your own life together. That includes your business. When starting up your Life Coaching business begin with a business plan. Plan and document your start-up costs.  Figure out how you will go to market with a marketing plan.  All this will go a long way to setting yourself up for success. 

Get Business Insurance

It is important to protect yourself and your business with insurance. Most Life Coaches should be set with General Liability Insurance and Professional Liability Insurance.  Depending on your specialty or niche, you may have additional requirements as well.

Invest in your business

Here are some standard costs when starting your business as a life coach. 

Training – options range from a few hundred up to several thousand for different online courses.  The ICF-certified training packages range from $995 to $1995, which includes the class plus certification. 

Business – registering a business is free, although other start-up costs may be associated with starting a business.  According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the average small business costs around $3000 to start. This generally covers initial incorporation fees, equipment, and initial marketing and accounting fees.

Insurance – general business insurance is pretty inexpensive and ranges around $30-$50 per month.  

Website – Getting a domain name plus a hosting site should be under $100 a year.  Depending on how complex your site needs to be, you can pay someone a few hundred up to a few thousand to build out your site if you can’t do it yourself. Platforms such as SquareSpace, Wix, and WordPress have made it easier than ever for you to get started with a website on your own. 

Social Media – Social media sites are free, and social media marketing is a great way to build your business.  While it may not make sense to spend a lot on marketing on day one, boosting posts and video for only a couple dollars a week is a great way to start building your online presence and brand.  Some programs start at a few hundred dollars a month up to several thousand depending on the reach. There are also several free or cheap online training options such as Udemy, Skillshare, or YouTube that can help you get started.

Legal/Accounting – for many smaller organizations, this may not be necessary.  However, for formal businesses, getting professional legal and accounting support will set companies up for success and may actually save money in the long run. Life coaches can use legal support to help set up their company, create enforceable contracts, and protect any valuable training programs or other intellectual property they own.

Create Your Online Presence as a Life Coach

Social media, Search Engine Optimization, and Online Branding are how you’re going to make yourself look like an expert to your clients and potentially attract new ones. A professional website that clearly demonstrates who you are and what you bring to the table is a must.  Active social media accounts in your key demos are also critical.  

Decide How You’ll Work with Clients

Do you want to meet with clients face to face? Do you want to do things over zoom?  What is going to have the most impact for you and your clients? What is going to be the best thing for your business? Other considerations: do you want to work one-on-one?  Maybe you’re best working with couples or families. Don’t be afraid to try a few different things to see what works. 

Price Your Services

What’s the proper way to price your service? Expert Life Coaches may charge hundreds of dollars per hour. Others starting out can’t give their services away. You may need to build your prices up as you grow your business, reputation, and experience.  Referrals can also generate high rates and lasting customers.

Aside from hourly rates, there are project, event, and milestone-based revenue opportunities.  This includes speaking engagements for a group, conference, or retreat. Try a week-long workshop with a small group or business.  Ongoing seminars could also be revenue generators and marketing opportunities. 

Remember Your “Why”

Never forget why you got into Life Coaching. Know what your why is before you start. All of the steps here are important, but remembering your purpose will get you through good days and bad.