Most people, at some stage of their lives, have struggled with challenges that life throws at them, be it personal or professional. And a lot of these individuals have been unclear about how to go about making changes to rectify those problems as well as what changes to implement to significantly improve their situation. Taking advice from family or friends can be a tricky proposition as they might not be completely honest or neutral while suggesting solutions. In such scenarios it is may be worthwhile to consult a qualified, professional life coach who can help people look at an issue from several angles in a completely unbiased manner, understand their current requirements and future ambitions – who is honest in their assessment of what areas work and what limitations need to be worked upon and suggests a strategic roadmap to bridge that gap between where they are and where they want to be, all the while gently guiding the individual towards self-improvement. In short, a life coach is a well-trusted, hands-on partner in the client’s journey of self-awareness, who encourages them to realize their true potential, helps them navigate through important decisions and motivates them towards achieving their desired goals. With a growing number of individuals turning to professionals to help find a way out of their difficulties or upgrade themselves in different areas of their lives, life coaching has become one of the most sought-after career options. Life coaching is the second fastest growing industry in the world with over 71,000 certified, practising life coaches across the globe! It’s true that many people become professional life coaches as they have a knack and the passion to help people overcome challenges and improve their circumstances. But at the end of the day, it is their livelihood too! So, whether you are an experienced life coach looking to scale up your venture or even a newcomer looking to start a life coaching business, this guide will provide in-depth information on how to start a life coaching business (and not just start just any other life coaching business but how to start a successful life coaching business)! Keep reading. Choose Your Area of Specialization The life coaching industry is fiercely competitive, so to make yourself stand out from the crowd, selecting an area of specialization or carving out a distinct niche is going to be imperative. Life coaching is basically an umbrella term which can constitute a variety of specializations such as health and wellness coaches, special-needs life coaches, relationship coaches, career coaches, and more. Identify Your Target Clientele Generally, people who opt for life coaching are those who may be caught in a professional slump or going through relationship problems (or facing other such life issues) who are looking to overcome these obstacles and restart their lives on a fresher note. Or they could also be successful individuals who are interested in further upgrading their capabilities or learning new skills. The target clientele can cover a wide spectrum as far as requirements are concerned. Online research on relevant forums, groups, blogs, referrals, personal interactions are various ways on how a life coach can reach & interact with their potential clients. Once you have selected a specific coaching type, focus on who your target clientele will be. For instance, if you are a health & wellness coach, then your services will appeal to individuals who are looking for weight management, body toning, healthier diet plans, upgrading their current exercise schedules etc., and then accordingly take steps to reach out and communicate your offerings to them. Prepare a Detailed Business Plan With thousands of life coaches offering their services, how will you ensure that your life coaching business not only stands out but is successful? Well, the answer lies in having a detailed business plan which should include your offerings & specializations, cost & expense analysis, exploring & reaching out to potential clients, including SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based) goals for yourself, conducting market analysis, competitor summaries, pricing strategies, etc. A comprehensive business plan will help you not only chart out the business specifications right down to the minutest details about the services you will be offering but also help to present your ideas and strategies (to expand and grow your business) to external investors in case you are opting for outside funding for your venture. Determine Setup Costs and Recurring Expenses Starting any business will mean that there will be some initial set up costs such as training and certification fees, buying essential equipment (such as laptops/PCs, headset, office supplies, workstation, etc.), website & branding expenses, advertising & marketing charges as well as insurance payments. Fortunately, in the life coaching business, recurring expenses are fairly on the lower side and may include monthly internet and mobile bills. For coaches who choose to set up an office rent, utilities, staff salaries, conveyance expenditure are added recurring expenses. And that may be one of the reasons why many life coaches who have a newly set up business opt to use their personal phones, vehicles, laptops, etc., to keep the costs to a minimum. Select Your Business Type The various types that a business can be listed as include Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC (Limited Liability Company) or Corporation. Life coaching businesses are usually structured as either a sole proprietorship or an LLC. A sole proprietorship works well for a low-risk business such as life coaching (which can mainly be operated as an online venture) as there are minimal set up costs & paperwork to complete. But in a sole proprietorship the owner’s personal holdings and assets can be at a risk in case the business goes bankrupt or if the business is sued. Setting up an LLC might incur more costs and paperwork initially but will provide asset protection to the owner and prevent the business owner from being held personally liable if the life coaching business is sued. Life coaches can opt for a business type based on the scope of their business as well as current requirements and future aspirations. Give Your Business a Name Naming your business is an important (and often very challenging) step in setting up your life coaching business. Choosing a name that reflects your brand, is easy to understand and recollect, gives an insight into your offerings and makes an instant connect with potential clients at the first go is most essential. In case the life coaching business is a sole proprietorship, then you can try and operate the business under a distinctly different name instead of using the owner’s. Of course, the owner in a sole proprietorship will sign contracts, cheques in their own name as legally the sole proprietorship has no separate identity under the law even if the business name is different. Make sure that the domain name is available for registration and only then begin the paperwork to officially register the business name. Register Your Business, Get Insured & Open Bank Accounts Before accepting any client, make sure you complete the registration and permits & licensing processes in accordance with the rule of the land. Sometimes even the smallest oversight in having all your paperwork in order or failure to obtain the requisite authorizations can result in hefty fines or, in extreme cases, business closure. Registering your life coaching business is important for taxation purpose as well as for opening bank accounts for the business (in case of availing bank loans). Also, now that you are going to be running a business (no matter how low risk) having insurance (for the business, equipment, etc.) is always a sound safety net as a good insurance policy protects your business’s financial wellbeing and covers for any unforeseen setbacks. There are different types of insurance policies that business can opt for depending on the scale and risk involved. A life coaching business can start out with a general liability insurance (which is a common policy that most small-scale businesses opt for) to begin with and then explore more premium options if the business expands considerably. Having bank accounts for the life coaching business that are totally separate from your personal accounts is necessary to maintain the distinction between personal & professional (even if your business is a sole proprietorship). Separate business accounts make it easier for the accountants and tax consultants not only while filing taxes but also while taking stock of the financial wellbeing of your life coaching business. Create Your Business Brand & Website A life coaching business, especially if it is a sole proprietorship, means that the owner is often the face of the business. Their tangible qualities such as qualifications, experience, skills, past client feedback matter as much as the intangible ones such as personal values, honesty, transparency in dealings, trustworthiness, etc. So, in addition to having a customized design, logo, colour palate and the visual bells & whistles, what will truly set your business brand apart is your positive characteristics. Incorporating branding elements (tangible & intangible) helps create a distinctive brand that stands out from your competitors. A name that has fast recall and one that conveys what the business is all about is what will impact people’s perception about the business and will help in long term business scaling. Designing a fully functional website is the next step in starting your life coaching business. With a large percentage of the coaching business being conducted online, having a strong virtual medium to connect with your clients and expand your digital footprint is a must for any business. In case your budget or time constraints don’t allow for a bespoke website, you can opt for a comprehensive business coaching software to grow your business - which will help with both the client & business management as well sales & marketing side of things. Simply.Coach’s Coach Showcase Page offers coaches their very own customized & branded landing page that displays their credentials & experience, client testimonials, success stories and more. The Coach Showcase Page also acts as a lead generation tool with a built-in contact form and appointment scheduler which lets potential clients book a consultation or discovery session. Check it out! Plan Coaching Packages & Pricing In any business the bottom line is about generating profits and increasing revenue. Offering varied clients a bouquet of coaching packages with variable time & pricing options is a great way to expand your client base and retain existing ones. After all, not all clients are the same and horses for courses is a better strategy for growing your life coaching business. Generally, life coaches charge their clients either by session or on a monthly basis or offer a package of 3-6 months. Initially, charging by custom package (monthly, 3 or 6 months) works better to help you plan your expenses and calculate your income as you know exactly how many clients have signed up. Additionally, you build up a base of clients who are genuinely interested in getting coached and are committed to a long-term program. Market Your Brand Online Hammering your products & services on every available online platform seems to be the new and all-pervasive marketing strategy. And though such hammering can result in an overdose and fatigue for the customer who are bombarded with repeated adverts and pop-ups, it is an undeniable fact that for any business to succeed a solid marketing strategy is an absolute must. So how do you go about stitching together a marketing plan that not only interests potential clients but results in actual paying customers? The first step is to have a top-class sales funnel – make the customer aware of your offerings, show them the benefits of engaging with you in comparison with your competitors, present them with all the various coaching packages & pricing options, get on sales calls & follow ups so that they take the final step and sign up with you. In addition to a sales funnel, there are other tools such as webinars, social media channels including LinkedIn and Facebook, vlogs & blogs, affiliate & email marketing, online forums, groups, and more, which provide a great medium to reach out to and connect with your potential clients. As a life coaching business, you can carve out your own distinct niche by concentrating on a particular area or industry. This specialization can help you better understand the requirements of your clients and set you apart from the competition, but the possible disadvantage of this strategy is that if you pick too narrow a niche, it can have a limiting impact as far as expanding your business is concerned. To sum up, in life or profession, building anything worthwhile, be it relations or your life coaching business requires perseverance, patience, the ability to keep evolving, the humility to keep learning and the determination to work hard and not give up during tough times in order to become successful. We hope that this article has provided you with the much-needed information on not just how to start a life coaching business in general but also on how to start a successful life coaching business! FAQs 1. Is life coaching a good business? Yes, life coaching is a good business (after all it is the second most in demand profession in the world!), but only after you have spent some time learning the ropes & establishing yourself; after all no business delivers high returns from day one itself. Like any business, there are no sureties that your life coaching business will definitely succeed. But if you are ready to put in the hard work, are honest about your dealings and intentions, and have taken the pains to conduct due diligence, then there is a high chance that you will achieve your goal of heading a successful life coaching business. Generally, after taking into consideration the set-up costs and expenses, it takes anywhere between 2-3 years for the business to start showing a profit. 2. How much money can you make life coaching? Well, your remuneration depends on the level of your qualifications, experience and skills. The top tier, highly skilled life coaches can even charge up to INR 1 lakh per session! But on an average, a normal life coach can expect to earn anywhere between INR 2,000 – INR 60000 per session subject to their credentials and experience. Life coaching is a rewarding profession, not just in terms of earning a good income but also in an emotional sense of helping people solve their problems.