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7 Essential Steps for Starting Your Coaching Business: Your Ultimate Checklist

Last updated on June 6, 2023

Wondering how to start a life coaching business?

Whether you’re a certified coach or an industry expert, launching a coaching business that looks and feels professional will help you get more credibility. 

In this “starting a coaching business” checklist, we’ll go from identifying your coaching niche and offerings to legally registering your business to managing your business operations. By the end, you’ll have all the tools needed for a successful business launch.

#1. Identify Your Coaching Niche

Identifying your niche early on is crucial to starting a coaching business. The more specific your niche is, the easier it is to market your services. 

Many business owners make the mistake of offering services for everyone instead of niching down. When you choose a specific niche, you can offer more customized services to stand out from your competition and attract the customers you want to work with.

To identify your niche, consider the following questions:

  • What are you really good at?
  • In which field do you have the most experience and expertise?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Can you niche down to a more specific topic?

Once you answer these questions, it’s going to be easier to go from a generic answer of “I’m a career coach” to “I’m a career coach that helps Gen Z workers change industries”. That’s more niche! 

#2. Create a Coaching Business Plan

Your business plan is the representation of your business…on paper. This document helps you stay on course and prevents your purpose and goals from changing. Also, it’s a great way to keep you accountable for what you want to achieve.

Here are the items you should include in your business plan:

  • Business description and purpose
  • Mission, vision, and values
  • Target audience and niche
  • Competitors (or competitive analysis)
  • Description of your coaching services
  • Financial plan with timelines
  • Marketing and client acquisition plan

You can include some of the steps in this “starting a coaching business” checklist in your business plan. So, we recommend you have this post on hand to guide you when writing your business plan.

#3. Set Up Your Business Operations

Setting up a life coaching business requires that you outline how your business works. It will likely follow a general framework that includes onboarding clients, delivering coaching sessions, invoicing, and nurturing client relationships.

Ins and Outs of Certified Coaches Federation Reviews

If you see yourself doing all that, you need software for:

  • Online forms and questionnaires
  • Smart Schedule
  • Virtual coaching sessions
  • Messaging 
  • E-Contracts
  • Invoicing and payment
  • Integration with other tools

And those are just the basics…

It may look like you’ll have to spend lots of money just to set up your coaching business operations, but that’s not the case. 

CoachVantage is a tool that helps streamline your practice as a coach. This software covers most of the items on the list, and it’s affordable, so it’s perfect for coaches who are just starting out.

If you have time on your hands and would like to compare various tools, you can consider other life coaching software options.

#4. Develop Your Coaching Packages and Pricing

When determining what exactly it is that you’ll be selling, consider your expertise, experience, and what your client needs. According to Noomii, life coaches who charge per hour set their fees between $75 and $200. So, you can either use this range or research what other coaches with similar services are charging.

To develop your coaching packages, factor in the number of sessions for each package, the duration of the coaching session, and any additional resources you intend to provide to your clients.

Common package structures with weekly sessions look like this:

  • 1-month package: four sessions of one hour at $400
  • 3-month package: 12 sessions of one hour at $1,200
  • 6-month package: 24 sessions of one hour at $2,400

Some coaches give discounts for the 3- or 6-month packages to make them more attractive to clients.

You can test different pricing strategies with early clients and adjust your prices as needed. But if you think packaging and selling your services isn’t your thing, you can look for alternatives to coaching packages like on-demand sessions.

#5. Get a Website and Work on Your Messaging

A website is your elevator pitch to new clients. 

When you’re tempted to buy that new piece of furniture for your home, the first thing you do is Google it. You want to look at pictures, reviews, credentials, guarantees, and everything that tells you it’s worth the money.

It’s the same with your coaching business. On your coaching website, you can include testimonials from happy clients, free resources, your credentials, and a summary of your services with all the benefits you include.

Plus, in the coaching industry, a website can be a place for your clients to book sessions and communicate with you.

#6. Register Your Coaching Business

Though it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when starting out as a coach, registering your business is a key item in your life coach checklist. It can bring many benefits, like credibility and trust. When prospective clients see your business is registered, it immediately renders you professional and legitimate.

You can register with federal, state, or local agencies on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

#7. Protect Yourself and Your Business

There are two things you should do to protect yourself and your business. 

The first one is to get business insurance. Business insurance protects you from liability claims or lawsuits. Not only that, but having business insurance gives you legitimacy in the eyes of potential clients, as it shows that you take your business seriously.

You can see the different types of business insurance as well as the steps to purchase it on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

The second step in protecting your business is having an agreement between you and your clients (namely, a contract). A contract provides clarity about relevant information that could lead to disputes while laying out legal requirements.

And…considering that we’re in a highly digitalized era, having an e-contract can be more beneficial to your business. (This, by the way, is a feature you can find at CoachVantage. It’s all about convenience, security, and efficiency!)

Keep the Momentum Going

After you complete the basic steps on this list, don’t forget to market your coaching business. Use social media, email newsletters, or blogging to attract your ideal clients. Building your brand will help you stay relevant and increase your client sign-ups.

There’s a low barrier to becoming a life coach, but getting sales and acquiring clients is where most new coaches struggle. However, by following the steps in this checklist and picking the right tools and platforms to use, you can ensure smooth sailing as your coaching journey begins.

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Glen Oliveiro - CoachVantage - Life Coach
Glen Oliveiro

Glen Oliveiro is the founder of CoachVantage, an all-in-one coaching platform that helps coaches to deliver exceptional results for their businesses and clients. It facilitates the coaching partnership between coach and coachee. Taking notes, sharing files, sending forms and e-contracts, invoicing, and scheduling are all supported on the platform. It fully automates the client onboarding process and gives coaches the ability to deliver impactful coaching and transform their clients’ lives.

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