Do you love helping people get through obstacles to their dreams? Do you always have the right words for anyone who needs encouragement? Have you always wanted to start your own business from home? If you answered yes to all these questions, starting a life coaching business may be for you.
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In recent years, people have increasingly been seeking the advice of life coaches as they strive to improve themselves, learn how to deal with the stress of modern life, and overcome adversity to achieve their goals.
But what exactly does becoming a life coach involve, and how can you make a career out of changing other people’s lives?
Today, you’ll learn how to start a life coaching business and make money doing something fulfilling.
What Does A Life Coach Do?
A life coach provides counseling, motivation, and guidance for the purpose of helping their clients achieve their goals for a particular aspect of their life: personal life, relationships, finances, career, business, and many others.
Being a life coach involves listening to clients to find out what they want to achieve, where they are currently, and what hindrances they’re encountering on the way to their goals.
With this knowledge, life coaches can help their clients set realistic goals, create a concrete plan, and learn how to deal with and overcome obstacles to their plans.
These hindrances can be one of the following: crushing debt, unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms, anxiety or any other mental health struggles, toxic relationships, unfulfilled or unacknowledged emotional needs, sudden life changes, such as illness, death, divorce, unemployment, retirement, and many others.
Unlike therapy that examines past behavior through counseling, life coaching focuses on the now and helps whatever a client wishes to achieve in the future. As such, the title of a life coach may change depending on the type of help provided, such as business coach, personal finance coach, health coach, and more.
How Much Can You Earn as a Life Coach?
Life coaches can make anywhere between $12.45 to $147.68 an hour (around $25,900 to $307,000 annually).
If this range seems too wide, that’s because a life coach has plenty of job descriptions, tasks, and other potential sources of income.
Life coaches who are full-time employees of a company can expect to make up to $32 per hour.
However, if you go your own way and start your own life coaching business, you can make at least $65 to more than a hundred dollars per hour, with business coaches making up to $300.
The more clients you take in, the higher your earnings are, which is true for most consultation type jobs.
Other side cash opportunities for life coaches include group coaching, workshops, speaking engagements, online courses, and other services.
Note that the incomes of those who coach remotely (via phone, e-mail, video conferencing, Skype, or other similar means) are often lower than those who work with clients in person.
What You Need to Have a Successful Life Coaching Business
If you’re going to run your life coaching business from home, the first thing you’ll have to set up is your home office.
Find a space in your house that’s quiet, with minimal background noise and foot traffic. In other words, setting up your home office in between your living room and the kitchen is a bad idea.
At the minimum, your home office needs to have a computer or laptop that can run video conferencing software, a noise-canceling headset, and a high-definition web camera
When you have your home office in place, you can now think about what else you need to actually succeed as a life coach.
Like most jobs that deal with helping other people, you need certain expertise and characteristics to turn your passion into a full-time career. Here are some of the requirements for success:
- Training and certifications – You don’t have to have a bachelor’s degree to start being a life coach. However, you’ll need to invest time, effort, and a bit of cash for training and certification. If you’re able to get just one certification, get it from the International Coaching Federation (ICF), which is the only globally recognized credentialing program for life coaches and coach practitioners. To get this certification, you’ll have to enroll in an ICF-accredited training program, offered in many different places.
- Patience – People have different timelines when adapting to change. Some adapt quickly, while others may have a learning curve when it comes to following new routines, accepting new ideas, or adapting new life-changing techniques you may recommend. As a life coach, it is your job to patiently guide a client through their action plan at their own pace.
- Time management skills – To provide your life coaching services to multiple clients over the course of the day, plus to take care of he day-to-day tasks of a business, you need to be able to manage your time properly.
- Passion and experience – A life coach must be passionate about what they’re doing. If not, it will be impossible to become interested in another person’s troubles and help them with their challenges. Of course, it is just as important to have enough real-life experience to provide solid advice to clients. Your own personal life experience will be your most important tool to get clients to pay attention to you.
- Research skills – Every time you take in a new client, you’ll be faced with a unique set of challenges to work on. While you may be an experienced life coach who has helped numerous clients, you’ll still have to do extensive research, additional training, and combine two or more techniques in handling a particular case.
- Communication and active listening skills – Life coaching always goes two-way. Your clients need to tell you all about them and you need to actively listen. When you know enough to help them, you need to be able to effectively tell them what they need to do to help themselves.
- Goal-oriented – Most clients have a timeline in mind when signing up for a life coach’s services. While every person’s needs are different, it’s important to be upfront with a realistic timeline and strive to help the client meet their goals within that timeframe.
- Empathy – Life coaching shouldn’t be all about business. At its core, your role is to help people. You can only do this effectively if you’re in tune with the feelings and emotions of your clients.
- Authenticity – You don’t have to oversell your skills just to sign a client onto your services. People can see right through this. Always be authentic when doing your job as a life coach. Be honest about what you know, how much experience you have, and how you can expect to help them.
- Perceptiveness and inquisitiveness – Some people may not be able to communicate their concerns properly or find it hard to open up to you as easily. As such, it is important that you know how to ask the right questions and how to interpret what they’re saying (and what they’re not saying) to learn as much as you can about the client.
- Willingness to learn – Life coaching isn’t a static field. Every day there is more and more information about the brain, emotions, and our response to both stress and motivation. You must be willing to always be learning so you can improve your coaching styles and be able to adapt to each and every client.
Aside from being a great life coach, you’ll also need to learn how to run your own business. Do your best to learn as much about digital marketing, administration, and financial management to make sure you keep your business afloat.
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Pro tip: Even if you believe you have most, if not all, the life coach qualities listed above, one of the best ways to determine if this profession is for you is to hire a life coach for yourself. The experience would help you understand the coaching process and even pave the way to start your life coaching business.
How To Start a Life Coaching Business
So now that you know what is expected of you, here’s how you can begin to build your life coaching business.
1. Find your life coaching niche.
Life coaching is actually a wide field. If your offer is vague and the results you promise are too generic, finding and retaining clients is going to be a pain.
You need to be able to find your niche so you can use your unique combination of expertise, experience, skills, and personality to be able to solve specific problems and deliver precise, time-bound results to a defined group of clients.
Here are some niches you might consider:
- Career transitions/Job searches
- Creatives (e.g., writers, artists, actors, etc.)
- Executives (e.g., CEOs, presidents, etc.)
- Health and Fitness
- Life vision and enhancement
- Romantic relationships
- Mental wellness
As a side note, many life coaches begin their careers as a blogger in a particular niche, and what makes them effective as life coaches is that they’ve already established a niche and built an audience base of people who are interested in what they have to say about that niche.
So if you’re already running a blog with plenty of readers and subscribers, consider offering life coaching services on the side.
2. Work toward your life coach certification and complete a training program (or a few).
As I’ve mentioned, the main certifying organization is the ICF, but there are other professional life coaching groups and associations. To get your credentials, you’ll need to complete a certain number of hours of training, as well as hours of coaching experience and a certain number of clients.
Legally, credentials aren’t required for you to offer life coaching, but having them goes a long way toward building your credibility with your clients, both current and potential. It shows you’re serious about learning more and doing your job better.
Also, networking through these groups gives you an advantage in that you get to learn best practices and know the most recent coaching trends and whether they’re a good fit for you.
The thing is you’ll have to spend for these training programs and credentials, but perhaps thinking of that money as capital for your business.
Here are some professional associations you might want to look into.
- International Association of Professional Life Coaches
- International Association of Coaching
- International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring
- American Coaching Association
- The Association of Corporate Executive Coaches
- The Association of Coaching Supervisors
- Association for Coaching
- Institute of Coaching
3. Practice and hone your life coaching skills.
If you want to get paid coaching experience, you can look for companies that have life coaching job openings so you can apply your training and sharpen your skills.
You may want to search online job boards first, such as FlexJobs, Indeed, or LinkedIn.
You can also find work in your local vocational counseling centers, abuse centers, family services facilities, and nursing homes.
Large corporations are also starting to hire in-house life coaches to help their employees set their career goals and achieve them.
Do note that because you’re affiliated with a company, you may not be allowed to coach clients on the side just yet.
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You may think that this will delay the start of your life coaching business, but think of it as a worthy one, as you’ll become credentialed plus the experience makes you a better life coach.
3. Register your business.
To protect your private assets in case the business becomes bankrupt or get asked to pay damages or fines, make sure you apply for a business classification, such as a limited liability company (LLC), as well as business insurance.
You may think it’s an unnecessary expense, but actually being registered as a business helps your credibility, entitles you to tax breaks, and as I’ve said, protects your personal savings and assets.
4. Create your core coaching package.
Remember that your clients come to you for solutions to their problems that they cannot find by themselves. It is your job to find out what problems your target customer is having so you can show them solutions.
As you’re only beginning, it is advisable to start your life coaching business by creating one specific package for a specific market and become good at actually delivering results with this package.
The better you get, the more the word goes out, and the more clients you can get. This is the time to branch out and expand your client base.
An example of a package is 10 video call sessions with 50 minutes per session for $1,000, or two in-person sessions plus 8 video call sessions for $1,500.
Part of creating a package is deciding on the price, too, so do your product research and compare your packages with other coaches in the same niche.
5. Establish your online presence.
As I mentioned, marketing is an integral part of your life coaching business.
Plan and implement your marketing techniques continuously, whether it involves simple forum posting, or a more complicated lead generation campaign. The important thing is you work on it relentlessly.
Other examples of online marketing you could try to mix and match are email marketing, Facebook groups, guest blogging, paid advertising, and more.
6. Invest in continuous education and personal development.
Your life coaching business relies mainly on your own skills, you’ll have to include the cost of continuous training and personal development in your business cost.
Fortunately, there are plenty of webinars, online courses, membership sites, and other online resources to gain more knowledge and learn about coaching skills that you can use to change your clients’ lives.
Start Your Life Coaching Business Today!
Life coaching can be the most challenging, and yet fulfilling and life-changing careers one can ever follow.
Imagine having a business where you can earn a better-than-decent income that still gives you plenty of free time while changing and improving other peoples’ lives.
However, this path isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain kind of personality to be able to help clients help themselves by allowing them to be vulnerable and talking about their problems and deepest, darkest secrets.
And if this is you, then you’re all set with a life coaching business.
If it’s not, perhaps your career path is in our massive list of work from home jobs.
Do you have what it takes to start a life coaching business? Or would you rather work for a company as a life coach? Sound out in the comments below!