If you have a passion for helping others and knowledge to share, you may consider setting up a coaching business as your next venture.
To start a coaching business, you will need excellent people skills and considerable experience in a specific field.
What is coaching?
Coaching is the development through guidance and training opens in new window where an experienced person supports or counsels a client to help them achieve a specific professional or personal goal.
You can set up a coaching business in almost any area.
Different types of coaching businesses include:
- career development coaching
- life coaching
- health and wellness opens in new window coaching
- relationship coaching
- sports coaching
- business coaching in specific areas such as sales opens in new window, marketing opens in new window, or finance.
Understanding the key differences between coaching and counselling is important before setting up a coaching business.
Coaching focuses on training clients to set and achieve their goals, whereas counselling aims to help clients recognise and solve problems in their life.
To be a counsellor, you may need a specific degree and licence.
Being a coach typically requires life skills and relevant experience but might not require a formal qualification or licence.
Benefits of starting a coaching business
Starting a coaching business comes with several benefits, such as:
Low start-up costs – starting a coaching business may only require a relatively small starting budget opens in new window. If you offer online coaching opens in new window, you will need a computer and robust broadband for video calls. If your business provides in-person services, your costs might include office rent or a dedicated room in your home to host coaching sessions.
Flexible working – you can work remotely opens in new window or in person from anywhere you wish.
Rewarding – coaching can allow you to make a real difference in people’s lives, helping them reach desired outcomes.
Ability to use soft skills – a coaching business allows you to use and develop soft skills such as empathy and communication.
How to get started as a coach
1. Find a niche
Identify a niche area based on your skills, passions, and experiences.
For example, if you have been through a challenging experience, you will empathise with others experiencing the same and be able to share your insights.
2. Identify potential clients
Conduct online research opens in new window by visiting Q&A sites and blog posts in your niche to help identify potential clients.
You could also publish online surveys to gain deeper insights into your potential customer base.
3. Consider coaching accreditation
Online coaching programs and certificates can help you gain valuable skills, helping you provide better coaching services and add credibility to your business.
Gaining certification may also differentiate your business from competitors.
4. Create a business plan
Create a business plan opens in new window that outlines your business’s goals and values.
Your business plan should be a framework for growth and help you make business decisions.
Typical components of a business plan include:
- executive summary of your business
- market strategy for attracting and retaining clients opens in new window
- sales and marketing plan opens in new window
- services and products descriptions
- financial projection opens in new window and business costs.
5. Define your services and pricing
Create a list of the specific coaching services your business will offer.
Your services might include 1-to-1 sessions or group coaching programmes.
You could design multiple coaching packages to appeal to a broader range of customers.
Some clients might want multiple sessions with tailored benefits, while others might prefer individual taster sessions.
Next you should define your pricing opens in new window.
Pricing can be challenging to get right, especially when you’re not selling physical products.
To help determine fair prices, consider the hourly wage you want to earn and any running costs you need to cover, as well as research how much competitors charge opens in new window.
6. Build a professional website
A website can be essential opens in new window for promoting your business, allowing potential clients to discover you and your services.
As your business develops, it can be a good idea to add testimonials and reviews to your website to add credibility to your business.
7. Market your coaching business
There are several marketing options your business could adopt.
- social media networking opens in new window
- starting a blog opens in new window
- creating YouTube videos opens in new window
- SEO marketing opens in new window
- paid ads
- email marketing opens in new window
- print advertising.
Businesses typically use multiple marketing channels, so start with a few channels and track results so you can focus on the most successful options.
8. Scale your business
Once you’re up and running, it might be time to consider scaling your business opens in new window.
One way to scale your business is by offering more services, such as online courses or memberships opens in new window.
Online courses are often at a lower price point than traditional coaching services, enabling you to work with more clients.
Once set up, the income generated is relatively passive.
Your business can increase its revenue over time with less hands-on work required.
At this point it might be worth analysing your marketing strategy.
Pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in your strategy and decide which marketing channels to use to reach more clients.
For example, if paid advertising is proving inefficient, consider trying and investing in an SEO content marketing strategy.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window include:
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.