One important question about how to start a life coaching business.
How much does it cost to start a business?
To start it costs very little. Most new coaches begin coaching using their existing mobile phone and computer. This means you can dive in and start coaching without spending a dime.
Remember though, an important part of creating a coaching practice means you will be an entrepreneur. Becoming an entrepreneur means you are taking on a new and unfamiliar role, the role of business owner!!!
As a business owner, it’s important to treat your business as a business.
Even though you can start without spending any money, you will soon want to invest in business cards and a website, networking and perhaps also setting up a coaching space within your own home. The reason? You want to make your business efficient and effective, and there are some things that are worth investing in for the longer term.
Also, most new coaches continue to invest in themselves by hiring a coach specifically to help them grow their business more quickly.
So, to start, there is no cost, but if you want to grow a sustainable and thriving practice, you will need to invest.
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A coaching practice is one of the least expensive businesses to start. But, there are still some expenses with getting started and loads of costs associated with the ongoing running of your business.
Once you sign up for training, you think “That’s it! Once I’m done, I’ll be a successful life coach! All I need to do is practice my coaching skills and offer my coaching services.”
The shock comes when you find out there is more to do to create a coaching practice than just getting trained.
I know it can come as a surprise so, better you know now what you need to be prepared for. To help you out I’ve also pulled together a checklist you can download to keep track of these potential costs.
I know I would have appreciated it when I was starting, so I hope it will help you too.
In addition to your coach training, you should allow between $5,000 and $15,000 for the remainder of your business set up and the first year of activity.
Here are items you should consider as you plan to launch your business:
Hire your own business coach
You will also benefit from the support of an experienced coach to grow your practice. Investing in an experienced, supportive coach and mentor will help you create a business plan and build your coaching business and get fully booked more quickly and with far less frustration, confusion and overwhelm.
Memberships and dues
Coaching is an unregulated industry. This means that anyone can say they are a coach. There is no requirement for extensive training, skill development or supervision.
However, the majority of professional coaches understand that it adds credibility to their business and allows them to charge higher rates when they are aligned with an international body. The International Coaches Federation is one the most common, but not the only, organizational body. Consider starting with a training program or a life coach certification program recognized by the coaching industry.
The cost to register your business with your local, provincial and statewide branches of government.
In some areas, you will need to register your business name, and you may even need a business licence depending on your municipality or city.
There are a few types of insurance that you may need to consider, depending on your location:
- Since you will probably be running a primarily home-based business, you may need to upgrade your contents or homeowner insurance.
- Speak to your insurance company to find out whether your auto insurance needs to be upgraded if you use your vehicle for business.
- The third consideration is business insurance, liability coverage, including cyber risk and data breach concerns, and errors and omissions. Talk to your insurance broker to determine what protection you need.
As a professional coach, it is essential that you have excellent sound quality when speaking with your clients. You may find it’s time to upgrade your hardware.
Microphone and headsets
If you decided to coach on a video conference platform such as Zoom having a good quality headset and microphone will improve the quality of the sound and provide an enhanced experience for your clients. You want to be able to hear your clients, and you want them to hear you too. These are good options that you will use repeatedly when delivering your coaching programs or group coaching.
There is a lot of variety in quality and price range. You can get reasonable quality for around $100.
Lockable filing cabinet
If you plan to keep paper copies of coaching agreements and client paperwork, keep all records stored in a locked filing cabinet to maintain client confidentiality.
You will also need a place to store your receipts, tax records and other business paperwork.
Many coaches prefer to keep everything electronic if that’s you research the apps, software before you make a final decision so that you are using something with top-level security.
Laptop / tablet
A good quality laptop or computer is all you need.
Many new coaches begin coaching while they are still working their 9-5-day job.
One word of caution if you are starting a coaching business, get your own computer, don’t use your employer’s laptop for your coaching business.
I don’t use my printer a lot, but when I need it, it’s important.
I recommend you have a small, reliable printer. If you need any large-scale printing done, go to one of the local office supply stores or print shops.
A coaching space
A coaching space is a private area where you can give full focus to your clients. Your clients deserve 100% of your attention during their session.
Allocate a space where you will be able to minimize distraction and eliminate any interruptions.
It can be a corner of a quiet room, or if you are fortunate enough to have space, it is lovely to have a separate coaching room.
You may need to buy comfortable and function furniture to outfit your new space.
It will take you time to decide on your most effective coaching method.
You can choose to coach by phone, skype or video conference.
There are many good options for free or inexpensive video conferencing platforms.
All of these platforms require fast, reliable internet. Consider whether you might need to budget for the upgraded package or install equipment to boost your wi-fi signal.
Skype, Zoom or another video conferencing platform
Video conference programs can take a bit of time and practice to become proficient.
At this time, I highly recommend using Zoom. I’ve used this service for a few years, and it’s an easy program to learn how to use and always provides reliable quality.
Choose one platform and make a few practice calls with a friend first to work out all the kinks of learning a new platform.
A personal brand reflects you, your voice and your essence. It conveys the message of your coaching business at a glance.
A personal brand includes your logo, message, colours, photos, textures and typography. Your brand will be reflected on business cards, in your headshots, on your website as well as social media.
Whether you DIY or engage a designer, it’s vital that you find your style and stay consistent across all in-person and online platforms. Consistency is important because you want your material to be immediately identifiable across different platforms.
An attractive, professional website that showcases you and the services you offer is a must for every business. It acts as your “business card” on the internet.
You can easily pay up to $10,000 for a professional website. However, it’s not necessary to spend so much money when you’re just starting. I recommend new coaches create or get a simple website that reflects their brand.
Too many new coaches invest a lot of money and time on a website at the start before they build a business. I highly recommend that new coaches start with the minimum. It’s more important that new coaches focus on getting coaching clients.
Once your coaching practice is up and running, then you will be able to create a larger online presence.
Most of my business development is done online, but I still make sure I have a good supply of business cards on hand for use, they come in handy.
You can get beautiful business cards from Vistaprint or Moo.
Headshots / Lifestyle Photos
Coaching is a business centred on people and relationships.
Anyone who sees your photo on your website or social media channels will make a snap decision. In an instant, they will decide whether you are professional, trustworthy, fun, boring, stilted or likeable.
Your headshot is their first impression of you online and people who look more polished make more money.
Ask for referrals from people that have headshots which you admire to find out who took their photos. Do your research and find a photographer that resonates with your style.
A good photographer will put you at ease and bring out your unique style. They will also help you decide what to wear and give you great input on make-up and hair so you will look your best.
Training and Mentorship in how to set up your business and market your services
Yes, you can figure it all out on your own, but it will be more frustrating, overwhelming, will take much longer, and you’ll make many costly mistakes along the way.
One of the critical areas you need to learn is how to get clients, what products or services to offer and how to create a marketing plan for your small business. You can be the best coach in the world, but if you don’t sell yourself, you will have an empty calendar.
Find a mentor and program that will help you navigate this new territory. You will be more successful, more quickly and you’ll have support along the way. Check out some of my exclusive coaching and mentoring programs where you receive top-notch training and personal attention as you create your business.
I hope this article has helped answer some of your questions about what’s involved in becoming a coach. If you’ve always wanted to become a coach, or you are already well on your way and would like to find out more about how to start a coaching business that is successful and satisfying I’ve created a special free PDF with you in mind.
Update September 2019: I was recently featured on the SystemHub site where I spoke about the value of creating processes and systems in your business. Here's the link: LINK