Building a Successful Life Coaching Business – Part 1
A Blog Series to Help You Start or Expand a Successful Life Coaching Business!
By Rachel Eva, Integrative Life Coach and Founder of Integrative Wellness Academy
Part 1: Setting-Up The Foundation of Your Coaching Business
You will need to make choices after you collect information about life coaching and life coaching businesses in order to create a business that works for you. What you see one life coach doing may or may not be best for you. One foundational element you will need is SOLID life coach certification training (I have provided more information on this below).
Some of the choices you will need to make is whether or not to file a DBA and simply open a business account for your coaching business or if you will choose to file for an LLC. I recommend researching the pro’s and con’s for both options, then speaking to a professional such as a business attorney and/or an accountant for advice.
No matter what options you decide is best for you here are some additional foundational stones for you to build your coaching business:
Approach your coaching business with an entrepreneurial mind-set. This is your baby, your business and it is easy to get swept up into creating the very best business you can. This can be a dangerous and slippery slope for you energetically and financially. After having a thriving private practice for many years (until I could no longer see private clients and keep up with the demands of running Integrative Wellness Academy) I want to impart something I learned about successful entrepreneurial mind-set…
Take the most effective step possible, get feedback,
make adjustments and then take more steps.
When starting any business, you need to decide what would be healthy and balanced for you to invest time, energy and money wise. I highly recommend that you do not dump a ton of time or money into setting up and launching your coaching business. Meaning don’t drain your bank account and quit your day job. Approach building your business in steps. What’s the point of investing 10k into a website that you will end up completely redesigning a few months down the road once you discover what works and what does not? I originally founded IWA with $300!
Here are some basic things that you will need in order to successfully launch your coaching business. Look at these like modes of transportation, like a car for example. You can buy a Ferrari, a Chevy or simply get and ride a bike until you can afford the mode of transportation you truly desire.
You and your business will need –
- Life Coach Certification
How do you choose the right certification program, there are so many out there?
There are many different options out there for you to get trained and certified as a life coach and it can be confusing! There are some options to take a brief online course for $30 and get a certification, there are year-long programs that cost $10,000 and everything in between. So how do you know which option is best for you?
Here are a few tips and also questions to ask yourself:
- Do I want to focus more on behavior modification or sustainable and balanced positive change?
- Do I want to help people increase performance while also creating positive lasting change and overcoming core issues?
- Do I want to coach from a holistic or whole person approach?
- Do I want to be trained so that I am able to be a life coach who is able to coach in all major areas of life; health, career, finances, relationships, personal development and spirituality?
- Do I want to have a generalized coaching practice or a focused niche?
If you want a more expansive training that covers the holistic approach, therapeutic techniques to support clients in overcoming/resolving core issues as well as creating effective sustainable action plans to achieve goals and positive change then you will want to become an Integrative Life Coach through IWA (Integrative Wellness Academy). IWA is the only training academy that offers the foundations and core competencies of life coaching as well as expanded training that draws from 20 other healing modalities in order to fully prepare you to coach both niche and general clients. You will be able to coach your clients in all major areas of life from a holistic or whole person approach. For more information on how to become trained and certified as an Integrative Life Coach through IWA visit https://iwacoaching.com/coaching-programs/
Do you need to choose a school or program that is accredited?
The answer is no. There is no legal governing body for life coaches. It is an unregulated industry. The most important thing is that no matter who you choose to study with, to make sure that you will be able to get liability insurance as a coach and that their certification will be recognized by insurance companies.
Again, there is no legal, official governing or regulating body for coaches and it is not necessary to be a part of any of the ones that have introduced themselves within the market. The field is not and will not be a regulated field such as therapists or physical modalities such as massage therapists who require a state license and are regulated by state governing bodies. So the bottom line is to choose the best school, the one that is affordable, aligned with your values and will provide thorough training and preparation for you to become a successful life coach.
- Liability Insurance
Whatever program you choose, make sure that with the certification that you earn you are able to get liability insurance. It is an important piece to creating a coaching business. This is for your protection and the protection of your clients.
- Your Brand
As a life coach, you are your brand! You will need to communicate to your potential clients, who you are, what you do, and what type of person you are the right match for. You will also need to communicate other less tangible things like trust, safety, help or support and other words that may directly apply to any niche coaching your business may focus on such as transformation, health, relationships, career, self-development, etc. When it comes to both design and wording on your marketing materials (web site, blogs, posts, business cards, etc.) keep it simple, clutter free and not overwhelming.
All of your marketing materials (all the ways you put yourself out there into the market) communicate a message and will create ‘a feeling’ when viewed by potential clients. So be intentional about what you want to convey. Be intentional when you choose the colors, font and images. Create a few versions, show them to (non-biased) acquaintances and ask them for feedback such as ‘what feeling do my materials make you feel’ and ‘What type of message do you think these materials communicate’ and ‘If you just looked at these without reading the words, what type of business would you think I was in’ and ‘what kind of person do you think would want to do business with me based on these materials’
Another element of your brand is your business name, your title and a short elevator-pitch line or tagline that clearly communicates what value and services you can offer to a potential client. Many coaches do not name their coaching businesses and opt to use their name and then their title such as ‘Integrative Life Coach’. When it comes to a tagline try to put yourself in your client’s shoes. I have seen many fancy esoteric taglines that do not communicate anything other than confusion to potential clients. If you try to put your 1-2 sentences into this format it may be helpful:
‘I am a ___ (specific type of coach) ___who provides ___ (type of coaching/value) _____to ____ (type of client) ___’
An example of that could look like – ‘Holistic life coaching that provides balanced life transformations for new moms’
- Web site
Building a website can feel like a daunting task, however it can be simple and inexpensive. Of course you can hire a web developer to build one for you, or if you are tech savvy enough to use Facebook you can probably create your own simple website (even one that allows you to post your schedule, allows clients to schedule themselves, and even receive payments through your site) using either WordPress or Squarespace
- Business cards
These are a necessary staple to have and to carry with you at all times. Whether at a networking event, dinner party or sitting on an airplane have your business cards handy and available at all times. I recommend simple business cards with your name, business name (if different then your name), your title (be clear about what type of coach you are), a powerful one liner that communicates what you do and what you offer as well as your contact info.
- Separate business banking account
No matter how you set up your coaching business I cannot stress the importance of opening a separate business bank account for your business. This will allow you to keep business finances clear, organized and easy to report. Pay yourself out of that account. Do your best to keep your personal finances separate from business finances.
- Payment processing
Being set up to take credit cards is a must in today’s world. There are numerous options out there and many of which can be integrated into your web site. The two I have used and would recommend are Stripe and Square.
- Book keeping
When you use Stripe and Square it is easy to print reports and receipts both for your clients to use as well as for your records. This will be credit cards only. For overall book keeping keep track of all your income and expenses. Create a business budget so that you know what your overhead is and what your average income is (obviously coaching businesses will fluctuate on income month to month a bit). You can keep track of all of your financial records in Quick Books or Quicken, or even by creating an Excel spreadsheet. Whichever option you choose, do track and keep up to date. This will make doing your personal budget easier and more accurate. Keeping good records will also save you time and money when it comes to doing your taxes.
Learning how to market yourself and get clients has proven to be the biggest challenges not only for life coaches but also for therapists, doctors, personal trainers, nutritionists and other therapeutic practitioners. The goal should be to learn how to effectively market yourself without spending large sums of money or time unnecessarily. Utilize free platforms like:
- Social Media
Take advantage of the social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to begin reaching more potential clients. Provide support and helpful information within each post. Do not just use it to barrage people with ads. They will quickly unfollow you. You must provide free value. Videos are a great way to do this.
- Apps like Meet Up and Thumbtack
Use Meet Up to advertise your services and create informational meet ups or even a group coaching program (see the Transform program information below). Use Thumbtack as an inexpensive way to reach those specifically requesting a life coach.
- Create Facebook pages, events and ads for your business
Using Facebook to reach millions of people that would normally be outside of your access point is a fantastic way to get more clients. This will also allow you to see more clients through Skype or over the phone for sessions. Ad campaigns can be set up to meet your budget. Start SMALL and see what works and what doesn’t and then make adjustments from there. Just be sure that your ads and your page itself provides helpful information too!
- Facilitate a Transform program
This is a highly effective group life coaching 12-week program. To read more about Transform visit and for simple steps to leading a group visit https://integrativewellnessacademy.com/iwa-coach-resources/ . You can also join the Transform facilitators private Facebook community to ask more questions by clicking this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/transformfacilitators/
- Host an informational event
Cocktail parties are a great way to have a little coming out party for your new or expanding coaching practice. Invite friends and encourage them to invite others. Make sure to make the event fun and attractive with giveaways such as a raffle for 3 free coaching sessions. Also include a creative way to highlight what you do without preaching to the crowd. A fun one to do is a values elicitation. Ask for a volunteer who wants to get some additional clarity in the area of either relationships, career, health or spirituality in less than 5 minutes and who is willing to volunteer to do the exercise with you in front of the group.
- Set up a speaking gig!
Whether it is at a local company, charity event, school, organization or local networking event, giving a life coaching talk on a topic like work-life balance, mindfulness, wellness or increasing productivity, this will provide you with an excellent opportunity to market yourself and your coaching business to groups of people who will have more trust and clarity about how you can help them after hearing your talk.
- Launching Transform Groups
The Transform Program is a 12-week life coaching program that can be held in a group and facilitated by a you in order to increase your earning potential, decrease the amount of hours you work and decrease the amount of time and energy you spend on marketing efforts all while increasing your impact! As a facilitator you charge group participants for the 12-week program and then at the end also invite them to become a one on one client!
Here are some basic guidelines for facilitating a Transform program:
START A GROUP
The Transform program is a simple and effective way to launch or grow your coaching business.
Here are the steps to beginning your Transform program group:
- Order Transform program books either on com or rachelevaonline.com – don’t forget to build the cost of each book into the overall cost of the program (providing the books before the first group meeting ensures that all participants will actually get the materials needed at the beginning of the program or you can allow participants to purchase their own book – see below)
- Set group time and place (and price!)
- Invite everyone – aka share the news!
- If you have not done so, have your participants order their book and fill out the client intake section before the first class
- When you meet each week go over the group guidelines (at the beginning of the book) and then read the lesson of the week and then simply open the floor for discussion about each week’s message, assignment, and what they have learned.
- Allow each participant time to share yet do not force anyone to share who does not want to.
- Ask powerful questions of the group and then allow them to discuss (see powerful question list below for ideas.)
- At the beginning of the program, once in the middle and again at the end invite people who may want to work one on one to become your coaching clients.
Here are some powerful questions facilitators can use to begin and expand group discussions during each Transform group meeting:
- What did you learn or discover about yourself or your life through this week’s assignments?
- What feelings and or behaviors came up for you?
- Is there anything that became clearer for you?
- What were the issues or ‘problems’ you found you are challenged with?
- How are those things specifically a negative in your life?
- What are some of the actions you take or have taken in the past that contribute to those problems or what are the steps that manifest or lead to those problems?
Transform Program General Information:
Transform is a 12-week integrative life coaching program that provides the tools, support and resources for you to set and achieve goals, move towards wellness and balance and overcome negative patterns. The program helps you to move towards your desired outcomes in all four aspects of yourself.
Transform addresses transforming ALL major areas of life:
Health & Fitness
Relationships & Family
Career & Performance (including finances)
Self-Development & Spirituality
Transform groups can be facilitated and made available both in person as well as online. Hundreds of Transform groups have taken place around the world!
You can also take the Transform 12-week online program I created at rachelevaonline.com
Best of luck on your journey to building or expanding a successful coaching business! Stay tuned for the other 4 parts in this series. My aim is to provide you with helpful and tools that are simple, balanced, sustainable and effective.