How to Build a Successful Life Coaching Business
Starting a new business as a Life Coach is an exciting step that leads to many opportunities. With your skills and talent, you’ll help people actualize the best version of themselves and reach their full potential. However, starting any business is rarely a walk in the park – especially if it’s the first time you manage one on your own.
When you work at a company, the business owner takes care of everything. Employees must show up and complete their assigned tasks, but the details are left to those in charge. On the other hand, business owners. Because you are responsible for making things work, you’ll have to prioritize your time and manage your resources to make the most impact.
If you have recently started your own business or plan to in the near future, you may have questions about what comes next. This article will go over the fundamentals of successfully starting your own business as a Life Coach. With some planning and effort, you can turn a new business into a thriving one and enjoy doing what you love in the process.
Creating a Business Plan
Starting a Life Coaching business off on the right foot means meticulous preparation – from your business plan to your brand identity. The first step is creating a plan that puts your goals in perspective. Your business plan must include:
- Your mission, goals, and benchmarks
- The roles team members will play
- Your budget
- The services you offer
- Your target audience and where to reach clients
- An analysis of your competitors
- Your potential risks
A business plan helps you request funding from lenders or allows you to work with a business partner. It clearly illustrates your business’s short and long-term goals and lays out potential risks. This document should be clear enough to represent your business even if you aren’t present, written in a way that anyone can understand.
If you’ve never written a business plan before, don’t fret. You can find multiple online sources that help you build one, including templates that guide you on the proper formatting and required information. You can also hire a freelancer to help you formulate one if writing is not your forte. Whichever method you choose, remember to keep it clear and on-brand.
Hiring a Team or Staying Small
If you’re just started and have limited funds, you can run your Life Coaching business independently. However, once you start getting more clients and expanding your reach, you need someone to help you manage. Examples include an accountant, social media manager, or administrative assistant.
Having a team frees you from the tedious responsibilities of managing a business. Although Life Coaches do not necessarily have a set schedule, no business owner profits from stretching themselves too thin. Juggling multiple responsibilities without help quickly triggers stress levels and can overwhelm you. Self-care and having a positive work-life balance are essential to your success and how your clients perceive you. If you can’t manage your own business effectively, your customers will take note and may be hesitant to work with you.
At the very least, consider hiring a tax specialist early on. Dealing with business taxes is quite different from personal income taxes. If you don’t get it right, you’ll quickly find yourself in hot water even due to an honest mistake. Dealing with the IRS in a precarious situation is not ideal. If math is not your strong suit, hiring an accounting professional helps keep your finances running smoothly. Business and personal finances can mix slightly when you are the only employee. Still, it is essential to separate them as much as possible.
If your website has scheduling capabilities integrated, that reduces the time devoted to phone calls. As your business expands, especially if you are running your business in an office setting, hiring an administrative assistant would be of value. The time gained from hiring professionals to take the burden from your workload will allow you to do what you do best: coach your clients.
With continued expansion, you might find like-minded individuals who want to join you as additional Life Coaches on your team. At that point, there is the possibility that your business may need to change form, from a sole proprietorship to an LLC or a partnership. These details depend on how much responsibility and ownership you wish to allocate.
Deciding Who Your Clients Are
Everybody needs a push to achieve their goals at some point in their lives. Regardless of how vital reaching that goal is, knowing the first step can be challenging. It does not mean that we’re incapable; it likely means that self-doubt has crept in. With that in mind, nearly everyone can use the guidance of a Life Coach to help them identify that first step. It’s up to you how specific you’d like to make your work and whom you want to target.
If you excel in dealing with conflict, you might consider guiding clients who feel amicable conflict resolution is their personal weakness. If you have an athletic background, working with athletes to reach their goals off the field or the court could be an avenue to consider. You can choose to specialize or to work with multiple groups. Whether clients are parents with kids who’ve gone off to college, college students trying to find their direction or people re-entering the workforce, each group requires a different approach.
Choosing the Right Venue
Where you choose to run your business can make all the difference. Fortunately, being a Life Coach is flexible in that regard because you don’t need a warehouse to store products, and you can meet with clients from virtually anywhere. Life coaches can meet their clients in their homes, office, or public locations like a café. Where you choose to meet with clients depends on personal preference and may vary with different clients’ needs. It’s necessary to identify where you can work most effectively with the least number of interruptions. Ultimately, your comfort is the essential part.
As a Life Coach, you are likely to spend much time explaining what you do to people. Some of the venues a Life Coach might find themselves in can be unexpected, such as a church or temple, community center or college campus. Considering that, offering brief workshops or hosting networking events at such locations could increase your client base, as well as broaden your potential for workspaces.
Standing Out from the Competition
Industry research is critical, as standing out from the competition can be daunting. Is there something unique that can be used as a foundation? If there is an affinity group or other community organization that you belong to, clients may present themselves that way. As a Life Coach, it is especially crucial to define your brand identity because it is an extension of your identity and message.
Creating and maintaining a brand identity is more important than many people realize. It is how your business is presented to the public. From the font used to the business logo, they should all have a streamlined look and be maintained through all communications. When a client receives anything from you, from an appointment confirmation email to a special event invitation, they should have the same look and reflect your chosen brand identity.
Choosing an elaborate font with a red logo is not likely the best choice for a Life Coaching business. Choosing a font that is pleasing to the eye and easy to read is best, as some clients may have challenges with their vision. There have been multiple studies conducted around the use of color and its psychological impact. According to one such study published by Penn State University (PSU), while the color red does evoke leadership and courage, blue is best used to denote stability, trust, and integrity, which are the attributes a Life Coach would want to convey with their marketing materials.
Don’t forget how important your method and personality are when you want to stand out from the competition. A good Life Coach has the basics down – but a great Life Coach has personal qualities that attract clients. Some of these qualities include:
- Being non-judgmental and helpful
- Having a warm and supportive demeanor
- Remembering important dates and life events about your clients
- Being considerate of their background and experiences
- Being non-condescending and making them feel good about themselves
- Gently guiding them in the right direction when they need help
- Keeping information confidential
- Giving them your undivided attention
- Listening to them as a friend would, but guiding them as a teacher
- Suggesting resources that can improve the client’s mindset or life
Even though this is a business relationship, you’re helping clients deal with very real, very raw issues that are causing them personal distress in some way. A bit of compassion and empathy go a long way, and you don’t have to cross the boundaries of a professional relationship to show these qualities.
Create an Effective Marketing Strategy
Choosing how best to market a business can make all the difference. A website is a great place to start. If scheduling capabilities are included, it is easier for clients to book appointments. Links to social media pages should be included on the site, as well as client testimonials. Social media has become one of the most popular ways to market anything. People have short attention spans, so it is convenient to see a short testimonial or business highlights video on Instagram or an infographic on Facebook that illustrates the services offered by your Life Coaching business. Creating a brief 3 to 5-minute video for YouTube that showcases Life Coaching and motivational support could also attract potential clients.
In addition, understanding avatars, or fictional representations of your ideal clients, can be a valuable tool in developing your social media marketing plan. Identifying your clients will allow for creating a tailored marketing strategy to reach them on the sites they visit most. This ensures that you are reaching your target audience.
Running ads in local publications, creating and running locally-broadcast commercials, sponsoring youth sports teams or other community events are all good ways to advertise your business. The key is to choose the placement of ads and marketing content wisely and to avoid oversaturating the market.
Maintaining a Client Base
The best marketing tool is still word of mouth. Given today’s technology, it also includes online reviews. Review websites are used regularly by potential customers. Nine out of ten consumers read online reviews before a significant purchase. It is essential to maintain the happiness of your current client base if you want it to grow.
Offering discounts to those who refer new clients to you is one common tactic that is used by successful businesses. With Life Coaching, retaining clients for repeat business can be a bit more challenging once they’ve achieved their goal. One possibility might be to offer “tune-up” sessions at a reduced price or in a package deal that would allow clients to access coaching services on a more limited basis. For example, a package could include three 30-minute sessions to review and redirect to keep clients on track.
Have a Plan for the Future
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), 80 percent of new businesses survive their first year, but only about a third remain in business for ten years. It is essential to do everything possible to ensure your Life Coaching business succeeds. Some steps you can take include:
- Seeking guidance from and networking with other small business owners within your community
- Taking courses in business administration, accounting, human resources, and marketing,
- Having a budget for emergencies before they arise
- Performing quality control checks and asking customers about their opinion
- Taking criticism positively and understanding what you need to change if things aren’t going according to plan
- Having a Plan B if something unexpected happens
Ultimately, it is up to each business owner to drive their business to remain viable. Above all, continued education and staying on top of Life Coaching trends are vital. If your Life Coaching business can last through any early growing pains and maintain its success, when you choose to retire, it may be able to be taken over by a partner, a family member or even an inspired client seeking to continue your legacy.
Although starting out on this path may be unnerving at first, the rewards are well worth it. With some strategies and a genuine desire to improve, you’ll be able to start a successful brand that helps people and allows you to progress personally and professionally as well.