Life coaching is currently one of the fastest-growing industries further fueled by the recent “great resignation” move which has spurred many experienced professionals to leave their 9-5 and share their knowledge by embarking on a life coaching career. If you’re one of those individuals planning to turn your passion into a business, here is some guidance to help you focus on the process of setting up as an independent life coach.
Your clients are likely to have a wide range of issues and it’s unlikely that you’ll have the experience and expertise to guide them through every problem. Look at your own background, qualifications, and achievements in life. What makes you a good life coach? Create a niche for yourself and focus your energy on refining your skills but make sure that your specialist area is large enough to guarantee you income in the future.
Decide on your business formation
Before you set up consider all your options – sole trader, limited company, or a partnership if you’re sitting with someone else. A company works better if its clientele is likely to be the corporate world rather than individual clients. Companies like to engage with other companies whereas individuals will respond better to a more personal approach. Think about where you want to be in 5 years’ time.
Get yourself organized
Many new life coaches can’t wait to engage with the first client but it’s very important to do the prep work. Make sure you have all your contracts and brief templates sorted. Documentation of your work and formally tracking progress is an absolute key to managing your clients’ expectations. Every contract should cover certain elements, such as remuneration, the parties involved, liability, confidentiality, and more. It’s worth investing in professional advice on this front to protect yourself and your business.
Create your presence
First impressions count. Often it will be your website or social media account where your clients will meet you for the first time. The internet is littered with messy hard to navigating websites. It’s really off-putting for clients because if your own life looks like a mess how can they possibly believe that you’ll sort out theirs? If your business isn’t too multi-dimensional, keep it simple. One-page websites are easy to create and they’re an elegant solution to presenting all the essential information on one page. Choose your social media channels wisely. For example, Twitter and Instagram have proven to be very good lead-generating channels for life coaches. Ensure you have a professional-looking account with a punchy bio that catches interest. Post at least once a week. Keep your website up to date with a blog post at least once a fortnight.
Set up your communication tools
You’re in the business of talking and as such it’s vital that you structure how you’ll engage with your clients right from the start. If you’re planning to see your clients face to face, decide where it will be there. Their place or yours? If neither, what cost-effective alternatives do you have which will offer the required privacy and atmosphere to make your clients comfortable? And then there are emails, telephone calls, and videos. Google or Teams are possibly the best tools for providing a full management suite at a relatively low cost. Ensure you’re set up before you start.
Be confident and upfront in your pricing model
You know what you’re worth but you also need to remember that as a newcomer to the industry you might have to give something away for free. Have a think about it before you respond to the first prospect. A clear understanding of costs and terms of trade enables your clients to plan ahead. Equally, consider publishing your rates on your website together with the introductory offer. Often when prospective clients browse, one of the first pieces of information they will be looking for is price.
Join a professional body
Life coaching isn’t a regulated profession and trust in your early relationship with a client is established on your personal presentation to them as well as the background of yourself and your business. Being able to demonstrate that you’re a member of a recognized organization that expects its members to maintain a certain code of professional behavior gives your client a certain level of confidence in your ability. Also as a member, you become part of the association directory which a lot of prospective clients use to find a life coach.
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Get yourself insured
Clients will come to you because they believe they need your help to either help them overcome a problem or improve their skills. It is a very personal and emotional space and in some ways, you will become their guru for a period of time. Professional indemnity insurance for life coaches is a key cover for your business. You might wish to consider public liability if you have face-to-face contact with your clients. Plus having business insurance shows your clients you’re serious about your own business thus likely to show the attitude toward theirs.