12 Steps to Getting Your Life Coaching Practice Started

Wouldn’t it be great if you could throw up a website and your Life Coaching practice would be inundated with inquiries?

Tim readily admits that’s what he thought would happen when he started over a decade ago.

Sadly however, Life Coaching and just about every business doesn’t work that way.

Many people don’t see all the hard work behind the scenes that went into building the successful company.

So let’s look at 12 steps you would be wise to adopt to give you every chance of building a super successful coaching practice.

1. Get Your Life Coaching Certification

Before I partnered up with Tim, Coach the Life Coach didn’t offer certification and it was something he was going back and forth with on how best to rectify this.

He has a belief that a a piece of paper doesn’t indicate somebody can coach and too many training companies give certification simply for completing the course. He didn’t want to do that.

Many programs have teachers who’ve never coached themselves, which is a sad because it’s imperative to have an instructor who can help teach you skills that are adaptable. Every client will bring different challenges.

That is the reason that Tim insists no matter how successful Coach The Life Coach becomes he will never quit one-on-one coaching at A Daring Adventure.

Coaching skills erode like any other skills and he doesn’t want to be the teacher who can’t do what he teaches.

When we set up our program we talked about the best way to make sure we know that they have the skills to succeed.

It’s why when we launch the certification element next month we will be testing our students in the business side as well.

We want to make sure that you are prepared to earn a good living as quickly as possible.

You may well have trained with somebody else or plan on doing so, and that’s absolutely fine.

Ask them why they set up the certification the way that they did and if they have materials like a badge that they can put on their site, so help bring credibility to your coaching practice.

Tim says that people rarely ask him about his credentials, but then again he has over 1,000 articles on his website, lots of testimonials and is an Internationally published author.

2. Know How Much Money You Need To Build Up Your Life Coaching Practice

You can start a coaching business for as little as $100 a month, but it’s going to be very hard to get systems into place that allow you to scale things.

When you start your Life Coaching practice you must hustle to bring in business, but you have to hustle smart.

If all you do is local workshops and only 3 people show up it will be hard to build any kind of momentum and it will be a frustrating experience.

You must invest in your business for it to grow. Too many new coaches are happy to invest in training, but don’t realize that is the starting point.

That means being able to take action on great ideas. If you want to make a mission critical  improvement on your website and can’t afford it then you will probably miss out on clients.

Set aside a budget that you can use to go to conferences, pay experts for help, marketing, etc.

It’s important to invest sensibly so I suggest that you create a small budget at first, but grow it each month because you’ll have more information and be able to invest it much more wisely.

3. Find Your Expert Team

There isn’t one successful Life Coach who built her business up without any help whatsoever.

You can’t be great at everything so you need a team of people that you can rely on when you are struggling.

You might have skills from other careers to lean on, so you might be able to do some of these things yourself, but I guarantee you can’t do them all effectively.

Here are my top 7 picks:

  1. Website designer
  2. Copywriter
  3. Accountant
  4. Social media manager
  5. Business Coach
  6. Community
  7. Mastermind group

I’m actually a good copywriter and so is Tim, but we have both hired other people to help out because it’s hard to see your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) without a little help.

4. Create Your Core Values

As you probably know we are big into core values. They help guide everything we do.

We also think the best Life Coaches have a clear set of core values that allows them to make smarter decisions.

When you have core values that are clear it makes it easier for you to say no to a client who is a bad fit for you.

Saying ‘no’ is hard, but a skill you must put into constant use as a Life Coach. The more popular you become the more requests you will get for interviews, speaking requests, and partnerships.

You have to stay true to yourself and the vision you have for yourself as a successful coach.

I was asked to speak at an organization a good distance from my home. They offered me money, but would only cover the travel and accommodation.

I asked them to cover everything plus $1,000 speaking fee. They said their budget wouldn’t allow it, so because I value my family time so highly I turned down their offer.

I really wanted to go, but my core values helped me make a smart decision.

5. Register Your Business Name

This one comes back to #3.

Depending on your vision of your business and how you want your business to expand you might need a lawyer, although a good accountant can often help with this.

Most Life Coaches don’t start off with using a lawyer until they are bigger and need help with intellectual property law.

When you first start off you need to register your business in your state.

This makes it easier to pay taxes and not have to give your social security number away. You can give them your business number for tax purposes.

Note: You may also want to consider liability insurance. This can usually be had for under $200 per annum.

6. Build a Website That Attracts Your Ideal Clients

You don’t want pink unicorns jumping over rainbows while drinking a beer if you target executive women.

Your website is your store front. It’s what most of your clients will look at before they decide to hire you. The first question they will ask themselves is:

1. Can she help me? (what’s in it for me – as this is often referred to)

2. Does she have a website that I can trust?

3. What does she want me to do next?

The important part is to stay true to your values. As you build your site allow it to show people who you are and just as important aren’t.

You don’t want to attract people who aren’t a good fit for your services.

Tim often drops the ‘f’ bomb in posts, in fact he used it in the title of his latest post! He doesn’t get offended by people swearing and usually uses it for comedic reasons or to emphasize a point.

He has a value of tolerance and as such if people don’t tolerate his language or humor then his blog did a great job of filtering out people who wouldn’t have been a great fit.

7. Set Up Your Paypal Account

I suggest that you set up a Paypal account because it’s the most widely used online payment system.

You can incorporate Stripe into your website to take credit cards, but to start Paypal works very well.

If you’re prepared to pay the $30 per month for PayPal Pro (as we do) you can take credit cards and also payments over the phone using a virtual terminal.

Paypal makes reporting very easy at Tax time.

You will need a bank account to make the transfer of money easier and hopefully you have one already.

8. Create Your Contracts

Contracts are important to protect you and help set the expectations for your client.

I know a lot of coaches who don’t use contracts and have been burned in the past.

I’ve worked with many honest people, but I think that is due to the client knowing what is expected of them and me.

They know what I will deliver. If they try to scope creep and that means they expect more services from me without paying, which does happen a lot.

People always want a little more.

I can go back to the contracts and explain what is expected of me and if they want more services then we can work out an arrangement that is good for both of us.

9. Be Clear On Your USP

When you are finished with your training you will already have different skills than the other coaches out there who have been coaching for years.

Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) will allow you to stand up and out from the crowd. I hope he’ll not be embarrassed by me saying, Tim does this brilliantly.

I know of no other Life Coach who writes as openly, honestly and with as much humor as he does. This sets him apart and gives him a clear USP for people who get his no bullshit approach.

That’s why coaching to me is a great business because if you can find your niche then no one can compete against you, unless they blatantly copy you.

Even then they are copying you and not able to connect with potential clients because they won’t be able to earn their trust like you can.

Ask these question to get started:

  • Who do you want to help?
  • What pain point do you want them to help them overcome?
  • How can you help them achieve this goal?

The more you dig down the clearer you will become on how you can separate yourself from the crowd.

10. Start Building Your Brand

Your brand is how people talk about you to others and it is NOT confined merely to big business.

How do you describe products you love? With passion!

Have you ever been to a site where something isn’t quite right. You don’t like the feel and you end up leaving?

Their brand is off.

Your social media presence is where most people begin to form an opinion of you. You can let them form the opinion with your help or without. The great coaches prefer the former.

Every message you put out into the world should be an extension of what your company does and stands for. That’s why core values are so important. 

The more you do this the easier it is to remember what you do when they need help.

11. Make a Marketing Plan for the Year

Once you have your branding working for you it’s time to create a marketing plan.

I suggest planning out a year. What will you spend your time on?

You don’t need every hour the of the day planned out, but you do need to have a good idea of how you will connect with people who can use your coaching services.

You can start with social media or paid advertising or a little of both.

I suggest that you start in small increments. Don’t go gangbusters on the paid advertising until you’ve refined your message.

The first year or two is about discovering who you connect well with and who you connect with as well.

Then when your niche is clear you can invest more money because you know what works. The key here is looking at the numbers.

If you invest $1,000 and you get $2,000 back then you can do $10,000 and be pretty sure you’ll get close to $20,000 back or $30,000 if you test out different ads and improve upon them.

Same thing goes for your time or your employee’s time on social media. If you put in 8 hours a week on social media you want it to pay off with future business.

If you pay an employee $500 a month you want it to be worth your time and money. You want to eventually earn this back and a lot more.

12. Start Connecting

Once you have the first 11 steps in place. It’s going out into the world and connecting.

If you are in a new niche I would start by reaching out to online and offline communities and donating your time by answering questions and giving help.

I will answer people’s questions, give interviews, and do social engagements to build up trust and show that I’m someone that they can trust.

It’s this trust that will be your foundation to growing your business.

If you have a clear niche and know people who need your help then start by reaching out to them to build your client base.

Then as you grow you start to automate your connecting like collecting email subscribers, blogging, and doing public events that are a good target market to reach new clients.

Growth

As you build your business you have to look at every angle.

I started my coaching business with helping people with online events then as I looked at the market and my skills I focused on UX (User Experience on websites and conversion), which has helped grow my business.

Tim didn’t have a focus when he first started coaching back in 2005. He made sales because he stood out with his personality, but he will always say how difficult it was to build up his business without a clear niche.

You will make mistakes when you first start out. Your branding will be off or you might not see the growth that you thought in a particular market, so that’s why it’s important to learn from people who have gone through similar challenges.

These are mistakes we are learning from and want to help you overcome. 

We actually put together a 2 part ebook series.The 20 biggest mistakes life coaches make when starting their business.

It’s currently at the designers, but if you’d rather grab the PDF without a fancy cover right now and not wait, just fill in your email below and you’ll get the first ebook right away.

 Image Courtesy of Masakazu Matsumoto

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing practical tools to help move us forward. You did forget to mention getting insurance. Liability insurance it’s very important.

    Thanks and I look forward to reading future posts.

  2. Karl Staib

    Thanks Diane! Insurance is very important. I believe we did mention it albeit very briefly. I’ve actually never had to use my insurance. Have you?