How to Start a Coaching or Consulting Business

Coaching is one of the fastest-growing professions in the world. If you’re passionate about helping people, coaching could be a great career option for you.


Starting Your Coaching Business

There are many ways to make money. Some people start businesses, others find work they enjoy and do it for a salary, and some people even try their hand at freelancing. But there’s another way to make money that is growing in popularity – coaching.

If you want to start your own coaching business, you’ll need to know how to get clients and keep them happy. Here are some tips for how to start a coaching business from scratch.

person holding pen with coffee on table
Finding your niche is the first step to starting your coaching business. You must know what you have to offer the market.

1. FINDING YOUR NICHE

Think about where your expertise and knowledge overlaps with a need in the market. Consider who you want to help succeed, are you qualified to help them solve their problems? Why or why not?

What is holding them back from solving their own problems? What is it worth for them to solve this problem? Is it urgent? Will you always be a “tomorrow” task? Meaning they will continually put off whatever you are helping them solve?

What is the competition in this niche? What do you have that will make you stand out?

Action Item: Write down your niche, be specific!

2. ALWAYS START WITH A CLIENT

If you cannot find 5-10 people who are willing to pay you, right now for your service, ask yourself why. Is it a lack of network? A lack of clear value proposition? Some other reason? What are you willing to do to get 5-10 paying clients this week?

You can do all this without upfront expense, meaning, there is no need for a website, business cards, office, fancy dinners – this is your first step: Get paying clients. If you cannot find anyone willing to pay you for your service, dig into why. Don’t stop learning and listening until you have a clear picture of what you need to adapt.

Action Item: Make a list of 10-20 prospective clients and reach out to them this week.

3. FIND YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP)

Similar to Step 2, once you have talked to prospective clients, you will have honed your USP – the thing that makes you stand out from everyone else. There are a million and three other consultants or coaches out there doing the same things. What makes you different? It may be helpful to see how your competition is positioning themselves, how can you differentiate yourself? How does your experience, tone, perspective, audience, background, or skillset play into this? Is it a benefit or detriment?

Action Item: Write down your USP.

person using phone and laptop
When starting your coaching business, you must nurture and build your professional network.

4. START BUILDING YOUR NETWORK

Once you have a clearly defined USP, start marketing yourself. Update your social media profiles to reflect the new you, ask your existing clients for referrals, tell your existing network (friends, previous coworkers, peers, associates, family, neighbors) about your new venture. Explain in concrete terms who you help and how you help them. Until you have regular paying clients, building your network is your primary job. Participate in online networks, communities, and conversations. Provide value at every opportunity (yes, this may mean answering questions for free as a show of goodwill). Follow your ideal clients online and pay attention to their social media posts – they will share a lot of insight into their needs, communication preferences, and expectations.

Action Item: Find 5 communities and add value to the conversation.

5. BUILD YOUR ONLINE HUB

A website is your “home” online, don’t rely on social media profiles or pages, as they can go away at anytime. Build a website and give visitors clear understanding of who you are, what you offer, why you offer it, and who you help. As you’re building this, it may be easy to go into extra sales mode. Keep this in check by constantly thinking about who you are there to serve. Who is your target audience? What life-cycle stage are they in? Where do they want to be? What problems are they trying to solve the moment they find you? What is their motivation for working with someone like you? What investment do they need to make to solve this problem and work together? Do they feel confident making that investment? Are you able to help them? What questions do they have?

Action Item: Start with a simple website on Squarespace. 

6. BUILD A MAGNETIC PRESENCE

Most internet users go right to the search engines to start looking for a solution to their problem. Position your website high in these search engine rankings by publishing blog posts on your website. Not sure what to write about? Easy – start answering the common questions your ideal client has. Don’t worry about giving away all your knowledge, share the Who, What, Why, Where of the problem. Keep the How to yourself until you have paid consultations. I promise, you’ll get to the point where the more you give away, the more prospects you attract.

This page is proof of that … I am giving a way a ton of content that most people keep hidden. Why? Because I still have more to give and I know this is valuable stuff. It also builds trust that I know what I am talking about and I am willing to invest in you while expecting nothing in return. You can take the same model and apply it to your business. Give away information. Freely share knowledge and expertise.

Action Item: Write and publish 1 blog post a week for 3 months.

7. CONTINUE TO BUILD TRUST

Before you’re done with your website, make sure you have a well-crafted sales page, a contact page, and a way for visitors to sign up to your email list. Use your email list to further build trust, share more exclusive content, and nurture your subscribers. Remember they are real people, so don’t “blast” them or obsess about the numbers. Instead, obsess that real humans have raised their hand to learn more about what you are offering. How can you add value to them?

Action Item: Setup your email list and include a signup form on your website.

TAKE ACTION

By following these steps, you can start a successful and profitable coaching or consulting business in less than 30 days.

There are people who need to hear your message, problems that need to be solved. Take action. Apply these steps. Go do work that matters.

WANT TO BOOK ME 1:1?

Do you want my help, opinion, or advice?

Among other places, I’ve been featured by:

HubSpot
Shopify
MarketingProfs