I get a lot of people asking me for general advice in starting a coaching business. I do mentor coaches 1:1, but I thought I would write this quick post as a starting point. Keep in mind this is my advice, meaning this is how I’ve done it and continue to do so.
- Make it your side hustle. Please for the love of God don’t quit your day job right off the bat and jump into your business. It will take time to build your new business, so make it your 5-9 job, or your “side hustle”. When I started my business my full time job was being a stay-at-home-mom to two very small children (and if you don’t think that’s a job, come over and try to do it for a week. Without getting paid. I dare you.). It took 18 months of doing the side hustle to be able to actually rely on the business for income. Yes, there are exceptions, but don’t risk being able to pay your mortgage because you think you’re going to be an exception.
- Put money aside for certifications. I often get asked, “Do I need to take classes or get credentialing to be a life coach?”. My short answer is YES, although there are people out there that disagree with me. Coaching has so many facets and there are so many tools to be learned to better serve your clients. Life experience is great, but in my opinion, not enough.
- If you can help it, don’t do it alone. People look at the outside of my business (ie website, social media presence, etc.) and they think I work my ass off 24/7. I do work my ass off, but the real truth is, I have help. I have an amazing Virtual Assistant who saves me over and over again, a talented web designer, a babysitter, and a mastermind group that I’m asking for help from on a regular basis. Yes, you CAN do it alone, (and sometimes necessary) but it’ll be harder. Another truth here is, there have been months along the way when sometimes my babysitter and VA make more money than I do. Having help can be a big expense and it’s a personal choice.
- Focus on one thing at a time. Especially in the beginning. You will go bat-shit crazy if you try to put all your energy and emphasis on everything. You simply cannot go pedal to the metal with social media, blogging, building your list, getting a full load of clients, creating your website, etc. all at the same time. Unless you have a full-time team helping you, it simply can’t be done. My advice on which to choose first is building your list and blogging.
- Remember it will take you YEARS to be “successful”. Don’t tell me you’ve never stalked another coach and had the jealousies of how successful they are. And you compare and despair and your fall into the “I’ll-never-be-as-successful-as-them-why-can’t-I-have-it-now” bullshit. Seriously guys, no one became successful overnight or even in six months. And keep in mind- you have NO idea how much money people are really making unless you see their tax records. Patience and persistence will be your besties from here on out.
- Don’t give up. Speaking of persistence. You will have setbacks. You will have sucky days (or months). Don’t quit the first year or two. As a rule- It may be three solid years of your best effort before you really see the profit you want. I’ve asked lots of coaches how long it took them, and it seems to be the 3-5 year mark.
- Always do what feels good to you…even if it’s not what everyone else is doing. There is no perfect way to do things. The only perfect way is YOUR way. Yes, there are some steps that will help you get more clients, attract the right ones for you, etc., but just because Mr. Uber-ProfeshSucessful Coach is doing something, doesn’t mean you have to do it too, especially if you hate it. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no, ALWAYS.
- Know that this is not an easy way to make a living or get rich quick profession. I once had someone email me and ask, “I’m thinking about becoming a life coach because it seems like an easy way to make a living. Can you help me?” When the truth is- it’s just like any other business in that there is marketing, selling, creating a likable brand and things of that nature. Plus, there’s no “half-assing” in heart-centered work. But, in some senses I suppose it is “easy” in that you get to do amazing work and help people. But again, when it comes to the business aspect, there is actual work involved.
- In the end, passion trumps everything. Please don’t become a coach if you’re not passionate about it. Of course you’ll have days that aren’t all peachy, but if you don’t feel called to the profession, you may want to look elsewhere. Your passion will serve your clients a great deal, and in the end, that’s what it’s all about, right?