When you start a coaching business, you also become a business owner. So aside from coaching skils, you’ll also need a variety of business skills. If you’re thinking about starting a coaching business from scratch, here are some essential steps to get started.
Step 1: Define your coaching niche.
Any good coach training program will give you the basic skills to coach practically anyone. However, “anyone” is not a good target market, and so you’ll want to define your coaching niche when you start your business.
Do you want to coach people on their careers, their relationships, their health, their business? Are you a career coach, a life coach, a business coach, a wellness coach?
You’ll want to choose a niche where you have both expertise on the subject matter and passion for what you do.
Step 2: Do market research to better understand your ideal client.
After you’ve defined your coaching niche, you’ll want to take it a step further to define your ideal client.
If your niche is career coaching, you’ll want to identify who you are coaching. Are you a career coach for new moms who are returning to the workforce or for tech professionals who are burned out? Are you a relationship coach for newly divorced women or for newly married couples?
You want to go beyond choosing your area of focus and define who you want to serve. Although this can be tricky when you’re just starting out, taking time to do market research for your coaching business will help you learn and understand who you can best serve.
Step 3: Set up your business infrastructure
When you are starting a coaching business, you are also starting a business, which is a legal and financial entity. You’ll want to set up your business infrastructure, including registering your business, deciding if you’ll start as a sole proprietor or LLC, obtaining any necessary licenses or permits, and setting up systems for payments, bookkeeping, and taxes. Starting off on the right foot legally and financially will make your business run a lot smoother operationally, especially as you scale and grow.
Step 4: Develop a business plan
A coaching business plan can serve as a roadmap that outlines your business goals, strategies, and financial projections. It’s important to develop a business plan to help you stay focused and on track as you start and grow your coaching business. Your coaching business plan should include details about your coaching niche, target market, marketing strategies, pricing, and financial projections. You can download my free coaching business plan template here.
Step 5: Create your core message
Your core message is that key statement that explains who you are, who you serve, and how it helps. More than an elevator pitch, your core message must resonate with your ideal clients by speaking to their needs and desires, while communicating how you can help. Creating a clear core message will help you establish yourself as a coach and differentiate yourself from other coaches in your niche. Check out this post on how to define your core message.
Step 6: Build your coaching packages
Coaching packages are specific containers that you design with the intention of helping your clients achieve the goals they hope to achieve while working with you. Even though each client is different, when you know your ideal clients, you can identify and understand their main challenges and desires, and create packages that support them in achieving that. Even if you decide to offer one-off sessions, creating coaching packages can help you serve your clients in a deeper way, while allowing you to better manage your own time, energy, and finances.
Step 7: Create a brand and website
Creating a strong coaching brand and website helps you attract clients and give prospective clients information on who you are and what you do. Think of your website as your online home and your brand as the color, decor, and personality of your home.
Your website allows you to establish an online presence, showcase your expertise, and share content that can attract your ideal audience. Your coaching brand differentiates you from other coaches and helps to build trust, credibility, and an emotional connection with your audience. Building your coaching brand can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and expand your impact by reaching more people.
Step 8: Create a marketing strategy to attract clients
When you start a coaching business, you want to do what you love: COACH! That means you need coaching clients. To find coaching clients, you need to have a way to attract, nurture, and convert prospective clients into paying clients. There are many ways to attract clients, such as networking, social media, and SEO. You can also offer free coaching sessions or webinars to build trust and establish yourself as an expert. You can find more on this blog post on 21 ways to market your coaching business.
Step 9: Define your sales process for your coaching business
Marketing your coaching business will help you attract clients and build your audience. You’ll also need a sales process to bring the right fit clients into working with you at the right time. Many coaches start by offering a free coaching consultation to anyone who is interested in working with them. You can optimize your sales consultation process by using intake forms and pre-call communications to give your prospective clients the information they need to go further, as well as to ensure you’re getting the right fit clients on the consultation calls with you.
Step 10: Commit to your learning and growth.
As a coach, you’re likely passionate about your growth and development. (That’s probably what led you to coaching in the first place!) So you’ll want to keep up on your own personal development and training. You can do this by enrolling in training programs, attending industry conferences, and even hiring a coach for yourself. This will not only help you improve as a coach, but also demonstrate your commitment to providing high-quality services to your clients.
Ready to start building your coaching business?
Starting a coaching business from scratch requires not only good coaching skills, but solid business planning skills as well. Through defining your niche, developing a business plan, creating a brand and website, and focusing on your marketing and sales, you can establish a successful coaching business that serves your ideal clients and allows you to do what you love: coach!
Take the first step to building your coaching business from scratch with this free checklist.