How to Start a Successful Online Life Coaching Business

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Are you ready to start your life coaching business online?  As a new coach, you’re probably eager to get to work helping as many clients as possible but are lost when it comes to launching an actual business…

The 10 easy & practical steps in this guide cover everything you need to get your business up & running quickly.  If you follow these steps, you will set you up for a massively successful online life coaching business for years to come!

STEP 1: MAKE IT OFFICIAL

There are 5 steps you need to make your online coaching business official:

 

  1. Choose your business name
  2. Purchase your domain & web hosting
  3. Register as a business
  4. File for a Tax ID
  5. Setup Business Banking

Choosing Your Business Name

You don’t need to get clever and try to come up with a unique name here!  Using your own name is the easiest and most flexible choice so you can always be free to change your services in the future. 

If you start out as an online life coach but decide in a few years that you want to be a speaker instead, you won’t need to start all over or go through a difficult name change.

Purchase Your Domain & Hosting

It’s important to check out the availability of your domain name before you officially register your online coaching business.  You can go to a domain host like Name Cheap and type in your name to see if it’s available.  

If you have a common name like Jane Smith, you may need to get a little creative and use a middle initial.  You can even use the word “the” in front of your name, spell out your middle name, etc.

Next, it’s time to reserve your space on the web by signing up with a website host.  Three of the most loved website hosts are WordPress.org, Squarespace, and Wix.  It’s important to research each of them & find the platform that works best for you. 

In general, WordPress.org is built for maximum functionality but it has a pretty steep learning curve.  Wix is a great place to start if you’re not very “techy” due to their easy drag-and-drop editor. And finally, Squarespace is a great option for a little more functionality with fresh & modern templates to choose from.

Register as a Business

You also need to become an officially recognized business.  If you’re in the U.S., this means registering with your State Government.  There are a few different options to choose from (LLC, Sole Proprietor, etc.) so you’ll need to research each one to find the best fit for you. 

 

It’s easy to do this right from your laptop and become an official business in less than 15 minutes.  I remember how excited I was when I received my “Articles of Organization” recognizing me as an official business entity – definitely worth celebrating! 

 

When you register, you will be required to also choose your legal business name.  I chose to register my business as Stephanie Wrona LLC and I’ve been very happy with that choice 🙂

File For a Tax ID

This is pretty simple and straightforward!  Once you’ve registered your business, just go to https://www.irs.gov and apply for a business tax ID (also called an EIN).  If you registered as a Sole Proprietor or a single-member LLC you may be able to skip this step and just use your Social Security number. 

 

I prefer to not mix my personal info with my business info whenever possible and chose to get a separate tax ID. You will use your tax ID anytime you file your taxes.

Setup Business Banking

This is also not required but strongly recommended!  It can be a real headache to try and separate your personal and business expenses inside of one account.  Open up an official business checking account (or even apply for a business credit card) and do all your business from that account. 

 

Next, set up a tracking system so you can easily manage your finances & file your taxes.  Quickbooks Self-Employed is a great option but Wave is also good & it’s free.  You can manually track your finances in a spreadsheet or a simple dedicated notebook as well.

 

** (I am not a financial advisor so I suggest researching or talking to an accountant or tax adviser to fully understand your financial needs & responsibilities as a business owner.)

STEP 2: MARKETING BASICS

Ok – I know we haven’t even figured out all of the fundamentals & I’m already talking about marketing your business…but here’s why:  You will set yourself up for failure if you don’t ensure you are first creating a profitable online coaching business.

 

And your business won’t be profitable if no one wants what you’re selling!  Getting clear on your marketing messages first will save you from hours of trial-and-error and failed launches down the road.

The most important thing to keep in mind as a Life Coach is that NO ONE actually wants life coaching.

Wait…What?!?  That’s right. No one actually seeks out a life coach so they can hand over hundreds or thousands of dollars to them for “help”.  People want solutions to their problems. So you want to figure out the exact problems you can help people solve. Call it a niche, call it your specialty, call it whatever you want – you are a paid problem-solver. 

There are 3 important questions to ask yourself to get really clear on what you’re offering:

  1. What URGENT problem do you help people solve?   (if it’s not causing them pain right now, then they won’t pay to fix it!)
  2. What UNIQUE solution or perspective do you provide?  (you want to be the “thing” they’ve been looking for because nothing else has worked!)
  3. What SPECIFIC results will they achieve?   (no fancy coach-speak like “empowerment” or “joy”…keep it simple and straightforward so that even a 10-year old would understand)
 

If you can really nail these three questions, you will be well on your way to becoming a highly sought after and highly-paid life coach 😉

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STEP 3: BRANDING BASICS

The last thing you want to do is spend a crazy amount of hours designing the perfect logo or the world’s most amazing website graphics.  There are some really simple things you can do to create a cohesive and clear brand without getting lost in the design rabbit hole. 

Now that you are an official  business owner, you want to always consider your ROI (return on investment) and putting a ton of time and effort into dazzling graphics is not what’s most important right now.  It can be a fun project down the road, but let’s get your business off the ground first!

There are 6 things to consider for cohesive branding:

  1. Brand Categories
  2. Fonts
  3. Colors
  4. Images
  5. Graphics
  6. Logo
 

The key to each one of these is to KEEP IT SIMPLE!

For your brand categories, simply list out the different values, topics, and keywords that are most important to your business. 

Choose 2 or 3 fonts and colors to use on your website & social profiles so there is clear brand consistency.   Decide on 2 or 3 types of images or graphics that you can use to best represent your brand.

Canva is a free design tool that you can use to create all your branding needs even if you are not a designer.

Your business will evolve & change a lot over the next few years and you will have a much clearer picture of how you want to brand your business later on.  For now, focus on simply being consistent in your presence online so your potential clients can recognize you & trust you.

STEP 4: PERSONAL BRAND STORY

This is where the magic happens.  Your clients need to clearly know that you are the exact right person to help them. They need to see that you’ve not only achieved the same transformation they are looking for, but you are also an expert who can truly help them. 

In order to create this connection and establish yourself as the expert, you’ll need to map out your unique, personal brand story.

You can craft your brand story by answering these 3 simple questions:

  1. When did everything change for you?  (what was the catalyst for your own transformation or success)
  2. What “big wins” have you had now that you’ve transformed this area of your life?  (what have you eliminated & what have you gained)
  3. What else makes you an expert?  (special training, client results, special recognition, etc.)
 

When someone is considering working with you, they will be worried you won’t understand them, that their circumstances are different, or that it’s just not possible for them to achieve what they really want. 

The more you can show them that you have not only been in their shoes, you also overcame very similar circumstances (or worse!) and still achieved the desired result.  Then the more clients you will have knocking down your door ready to work with you.

STEP 5: ELEVATOR PITCH

Your elevator pitch is simply how you describe your business to a stranger in 30 seconds or less.  Because you get really clear on who you are helping and what you are helping them with in your marketing basics, this part should be a breeze!

 

You can create a powerful statement using this simple formula: 

I help (your specific people with an urgent problem) to (achieve what specific outcome) so they can (list "big wins" of achieving that outcome).

Here are some examples to use as a guide:

Example #1: I help burnt-out millennial women find their life’s purpose so they can do more fulfilling work while eliminating their stress & anxiety for good.

Example #2: I help shopaholic women stop their out-of-control spending so they can get rid of credit cards, eliminate their debt, and create true wealth instead.

Steer clear of vague “coach speak” and get straight to the point.  You may even want to practice saying your pitch out loud, telling friends, or recording yourself just to make sure it’s something you would actually say to a stranger in an elevator. 🙂

STEP 6: BUSINESS MODEL

Your business model is basically the types of services & packages you will be offering.  There are 4 general types of services that most online coaching businesses offer:

  1. One-on-One
  2. Groups
  3. Digital Products
  4. Retreats/Workshops/Events
 

Now that you know exactly what you help people achieve, it’s time to package your services into an offer your clients will love. It is important to consider all of the variables for each business model.

One-on-One virtual services are the most cost-effective but will also require most of your individual time.  However, they are the easiest to implement when you are a new business owner & can set you up for long-term success by establishing a loyal client base.

Considering offering your 1-1 services in packages (i.e. 3 months or 12 sessions) or full-day & half-day intensives instead of individual sessions. If you are brand new, you may even want to offer lower-cost trial sessions before inviting your clients to commit to a full package.

Start by defining the basic steps you’ll need to take your clients through in order for them to achieve their desired results. Think back to the steps you took that led you to your own transformation.

This could look like: uncovering & healing emotional wounds, getting clear on personal values, setting specific goals, and putting an action plan into place. 

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel with your packages – but your clients will simply want to know that you have a defined process for helping them.

Once you are clear on the steps, now consider how long it will take to go through them. If you aren’t sure about your exact steps or on an ideal timeframe, consider offering your coaching for free in order to get clearer on what your package will actually need to look like.

Online group programs, digital courses, and events/retreats/workshops are great to add into your business model when you have established a larger audience, an engaged following and when you are really dialed into your unique processes as a coach. These are a great way to scale your business in the future.

STEP 7: FINANCIAL PLANNING & PRICING

When you are planning your business financials, it’s important to ensure you account for all of your business expenses as well. 

In general, you will have: monthly business expenses (outsourcing help, advertising costs, etc), annual business expenses (website hosting, software subscriptions, etc.), and quarterly business taxes. 

Decide now how much of your profits you are able & willing to invest back into your business while still supporting your lifestyle needs.

If you are building your business alongside a FT job, what do you need to do before you can leave? Set a financial goal and a target date for leaving your job before becoming a FT online coach.

In order to set the right prices when you are just starting out, I suggest starting with prices you are personally 100% comfortable offering. You want to feel like you have a “no-brainer” to offer your clients! 

Don’t worry about what others are charging – it’s VIP to find the price you can actually sell first.

Selling yourself & your services is a skill that you need to build over time so you want to set yourself up for success. Once you have more experience, you can continue to raise your prices until you reach a sustainable FT income.

STEP 8: YOUR SCHEDULE

There are 3 keys to consider when planning your schedule:

  1. Weekly Business Building Time
  2. Support Systems Needed
  3. Your Ideal Day
 

Blocking out specific time on your calendar each week is the key to staying productive in building your business.

It is also important to determine what additional support you may need: extra childcare, extra help around the house, additional training, a coach or mentor, networking groups, etc.

Have a clear idea of what an ideal day will look like while you are building your business & once your business is fully launched.

A simple but powerful exercise is to take out a sheet of paper and write out a current typical daily schedule right now, and then on another sheet of paper write out your ideal daily schedule. 

This can be really eye-opening to see where you may have more pockets of time than you realized or to see that you actually need to find a way to create more pockets of time in order to build your business.

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STEP 9: APPOINTMENTS & PAYMENTS

Setting up an online appointment calendar makes it easy for your potential clients & your existing clients to schedule their sessions with you.

An online calendar will eliminate the need to coordinate a time through email or text & will automate the process instead.

You can easily add a link to your website (see Step 10) for potential new clients to book their initial consultation with you.

There are many options for an online appointment calendar.  I suggest getting started with a free account from one of these:

 

You can easily manage your online appointment calendar by linking it to your Google calendar as well!

For simple online client invoices, you can start a free account with services like these:

STEP 10: YOUR WEBSITE

This is where everything comes together!  You’ll want to start off with a really simple website in the beginning because your business will evolve and change a lot. 

Avoid falling into the new-entrepreneur trap of spending several months DIY’ing a complex website that you will completely redo in 6 months! 

You can easily plug in the information you’ve already figured out throughout this guide & have your website built in no time. 

After you follow the setup within your website hosting service, you’ll want to follow these 8 steps to create your web pages: 

  1. Set up your Home Page  (add your “I Help” statement & link a button to your online calendar)
  2. Create your About Me Page  (add your personal brand story & link a button to your online calendar)
  3. Create your Work With Me Page  (list your package options & link a button to your calendar)
  4. Set up your Blog Page  (skip this step if you do not have content but add it later!)
  5. Use a Cookie Policy  (https://www.wonder.legal or a plug-in)
  6. Add a Privacy Policy (hidden) Page & link to it in your footer  *This is a required page for all websites*  (free generator at https://www.wonder.legal or consult with a lawyer)
  7. Add a Terms of Use (hidden) Page & link to it in your footer  (free generator at https://www.wonder.legal or consult with a lawyer)
  8. Add a Disclaimer (hidden) Page & link to it in your footer (free generator at https://www.wonder.legal or consult with a lawyer)

To Wrap up...

Here are the 10 Steps to Start a Successful Life Coaching Business Online:

These steps are everything you need to officially start your online life coaching business.  Now it’s time to get into action to market your business, offer your services, and start working with clients!

 

Download your copy of the COACHING BUSINESS PLANNER to set your clear plan & ensure you have a successful and profitable online coaching business from the start.