So you’re thinking about starting a life coaching business but don’t quite know how to do it. Great. You’ve reached the right place.
Below are a few tips on how to get your coaching business off the ground. These are tips I picked up along the way, as I am currently constructing my own coaching business, and figured that if I’m facing these questions, other would-be coaches are also asking themselves the same things.
So here goes.
Don’t quit your day job… yet
This is something that keeps coming up. After going through several coaching sessions, a lot of people feel inspired and motivated to share what they know with other people, in order to help them feel the same way. While this is all fine and worthy, don’t fall in this pit. Building a business is something that takes time and needs consideration. If you go rushing into this, burning bridges, while having a romantic idea in your mind, you might find yourself with no clientele to speak of, and no income to support you. Like any other business, a coaching business needs to be started from the ground up. This takes time and a lot of preparations. During this time you would still want a steady income to support you, so don’t quit just yet. A good idea might be starting coaching half time, while still working in your old position, and start there. This would give you confidence, and the support you need to start your own business.
Choose a niche
This may be the first stone placed in your business. Let’s face it, coaching is a tough service to sell. As it’s very abstract, sometimes the goals and deliverables of the process are not quite clear. This is truer now than ever, as the coaching market grows larger each year, and more coaches are being trained. Promoting yourself as a “life coach” is fine, but it doesn’t quite say what value are you giving your clients, and is a bit vague. In order to have a good offer in the market, it’s important to have something more substantial. When you choose a niche you instantly do two things:
- Define your target audience
- Give yourself a distinct and clear offer in terms of service
There are literally hundreds of niches out there, and it’s recommended to choose one that you can relate to, and have experience in. We would cover the basics of choosing a niche in a later post, but in the meantime, here is a list of 99 coaching niches as it appears on Universal coaching systems.
Know your market
After choosing a niche, the next step is to understand who your clients are. What results are they looking for in your niche, and how you can provide these results. The method which I found that works for me is to put myself in the shoes of a trainee, and think what would improve my life. This leads to creating a plan on how to coach the specific market which would get the clients on that market the results it seeks.
All though a bit of a cliché, this is still a solid tip. Like in any other business, connections will get you far. So make sure to appear on conventions, talk to other members, tell other people you’re in business and make sure you are heard of and known. You never know how far or wide word of mouth travels, and the right connection might get you the next client, or will show you the next business opportunity. Social networking would also be quite helpful in this. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the likes are your best shots at making connections online and offline. So make sure you are there, and be active!
Get professional advice
As in every type of business, it is crucial to understand the legalities behind the scenes. Make sure to get professional help and advice with a professional accountant or business lawyer and make sure your business is paying all its taxes and confirm with all your local and country laws. You don’t want to be fined with a large sum later in the business’ life, and you don’t want to find yourself having to make explanations to your customers. Every business has an accountant that follows him, and so should yours.
Be the coach you would go to
Coaching is a people’s business. and after all is said and done, the effectiveness of the process depends on just two people, you and your trainee. So make sure you stand up to your own expectations. Keep in mind how you would have felt if your coach would have been acting like you act, and place yourself in your trainee’s shoes. This may sound simple (it is!) but a lot of people tend to forget this, and sometimes find themselves answering questions that the trainee didn’t even ask, which would cause the trainee to lose interest in the process very quickly.
I think that these are the fundamentals of constructing a coaching business. Some of these tips are true for any kind of business, and because a coaching business is firstly a business, they apply as well.
I know how it feels to have the desire to just go out and help people as fast as possible, but it’s important that the business you construct will be stable, or otherwise you might find yourself with a lot of good will to help out, but no one who wants to listen.
If you think I left out any important tips that you are using or have used while building your coaching business, post them below, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure to answer back.