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How to start a life coaching business (ultimate guide)

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Updated on:
December 11, 2022
December 11, 2022
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Individuals with superior people skills might begin wondering about how to start a life coaching business. After all, you get great satisfaction when it comes to helping other persons succeed, so why not start your own life coaching business?

The problem is that not everyone knows how to start such a business - especially if they were never a business owner before. You'll be glad to find out that setting the foundation of a life coach business is not that different from establishing other companies.

A successful coaching business is often determined from its very start. This guide will tell you how to set your business in stone so that you may gain profit from the very start.

Note: If you are starting a life coaching business, get access to all the tools to run your business with Bonsai's software. Our all-in-one small business software has task management, time tracking, proposal, contract and invoice templates you can use to manage your business. See for yourself. Claim your 7-day free trial here.

Services Offered by a Life Coaching Business

No two businesses offer the same coaching services, so you need to consider your qualifications. Here are the most common niches used by life coaches:

Health, Lifestyle, and Wellbeing

Many people may have trouble sticking to a weight loss program and keep spiraling back. As a life coach, you will be able to offer your target audience some encouragement and support.

Motivation and Goal Setting

Goal setting is also in demand. For instance, some coaching clients may want to buy a house but are not exactly sure how to reach that goal. You might be able to motivate them by creating an action plan for them.

Executive Coaching

People working from a position in corporate management may have issues keeping a strong hold of their career and work goals.

A successful life coaching business will help them improve their management skills and introduce them to the right tools. For instance, you may work with the task management tool provided by Bonsai to help your clients create a map of their future.

Workplace Skills

When you start a new coaching business, you may also provide workplace skills to your potential clients.

For instance, some may need to work on their public speaking skills or become better at working under pressure. As the business owner of a successful life coaching business, you can help them develop those skills.

Change Management

Not every person is great when they have to deal with change. Some find it rather challenging and respond negatively to it. As a life coach, you may be able to help them accept the change so that they can deal with it more proactively.

Note: Manage your clients in one place with Bonsai's software. From task management, to time tracking to organizing your proposals, contracts and invoices, Bonsai has you covered. Claim your 7-day free trial here.

Financial Awareness

Do you have a skill for managing finances? Well, not every person does. As a life coach, you might help customers find the source of their financial income and help them balance their monthly spending.

Time Management

Working hours are increasing and more companies are adopting a more "flexible" schedule. While this may be a good thing for some people, it also comes to the disadvantage of others, as they can no longer separate work from personal life.

Using your own knowledge and tools such as the time management tool from Bonsai, you should be able to help them manage their time more efficiently.

Note: Try Bonsai's time tracking software to better manage your time and bill for your services accordingly. Our software automatically records your tasks without interrupting your workflow. Try a 7-day free trial here.


As someone with a life coaching business, you may be able to help your clients find an idea or a belief that offers them meaning in life. By understanding their philosophies and beliefs, you may offer them more guidance in their lives.

Setting Up A Life Coaching Business

When you get into life coaching, there are certain steps that you have to go through, regardless of the services that you provide. Here are the main steps on how to start a life coaching business:

Get Your Life Coaching Certification

Before you think about pursuing a career in coaching, you might want to become a certified life coach first. Technically speaking, there's no government body forcing you to get a certification, but it will make you look better in the eyes of your clients.

Go for reputable organizations such as the International Coaching Federation. This will increase your reputation, even if you do not have too many testimonials from your clients.

Determine Your Coaching Niche

The second thing that you need to do is determine what the niche of your life coaching business should be.

Do you want to go for fitness, or are you more of a general life coach? Narrow down the coaching industry as much as you can so that you can reduce your competition.

Choose the Business Structure

Next, you must choose the business structure for your life coaching business. For the most part, you have two options: a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company (LLC).

Sole proprietorships are good when you start a life coaching business with low funds and few people (i.e., just yourself). It needs just a small amount of paperwork, and in some states, you do not even have any startup costs to cover.

However, LLCs are better at protecting your personal assets. If your company experiences financial issues, gets sued, or goes bankrupt, then an LLC can offer personal asset protection for your belongings. Review the cost of opening an LLC here.

Set Your Documentation Straight

Life coaches may have different documents to exchange throughout their coaching sessions. You have to draft your coaching contracts, send proposals, and more. For this reason, you should set those documents straight.

Programs such as Bonsai can be very helpful when you start a life coaching business. It can offer you templates for your life coaching proposals and for other documents so that your coaching program functions according to the law.

Choose a Business Name for Your Life Coaching Services

The name of a coaching business should not only be easy to understand but should also be a reflection of your brand. You must choose a coaching business name that can make a good first impression.

Bear in mind that most states do not allow two businesses to have the same business name, so you may want to check your name's availability first.

Determine the Costs of Your Life Coach Business

When you are starting a coaching business, you must be fully aware of the costs - especially if you are on a budget.

Think about the training costs, equipment costs, insurance, or potential annual fees. For instance, if your life coaching company is an LLC, then you may have some annual fees to pay alongside your startup fees.

Create a Life Coaching Business Plan

There are more than 53,000 life coaches all over the world. Therefore, if you want to be successful, then you need a good business plan.

Create a good competitive profile along with some SMART goals. Being organized will boost confidence and bring more clients your way.

Recommended reading: How To Create New Coaching Clients In 15 minutes A Day

Arrange for Accounting and Payment

Life coaching businesses are not all the same. Based on the services that you offer, you also have to set up a pricing structure. You can look at what other coaches charge, but you must consider your own services as well.

You may receive payments after the coaching sessions, or you may get a fixed fee per month. Make sure to arrange a payment medium as well. For instance, Bonsai's business account can be very helpful for those who prefer to use a business credit card.

You might also want to be careful about paying your taxes. Once you are set with an EIN, you need to set aside some money every month for the tax year. Bonsai Tax can help deliver the money into Envelopes, ensuring that you don't overstep your budget accidentally.

Note: if you want to get access to our business bank account and tax software to record and track tax deductions, try Bonsai. Bonsai's business bank account could help you better organize your finances, and our expense tracker could save you money during tax time. In fact, the average user saves $5,600 from their tax bill. Claim your 7 day free trial here.

Purchase Your Life Coaching Equipment

For the most part, a life coaching business won't be too expensive to set up, at least equipment-wise. That being said, you still need to purchase equipment such as a desk for your home office, and a good laptop.

You also need to arrange a place where you can meet your coach clients. Digital equipment such as software subscriptions may also be necessary.

Create a Life Coaching Website

If you plan to set up an online coaching business, then you must buy a domain to create your website.

To attract new and potential clients, you should use website hosting platforms such as WordPress, as they have free themes that online coaching companies can benefit from.

Note: If you want to track all your business expenses automatically for future tax write-offs, try Bonsai Tax. Bonsai Tax is an expense tracker which scans your bank/credit card receipts to discover potential tax deductions. On average, users save $5,600 from their tax bill. Claim your 7-day free trial here.

Set Up a Phone System for Potential Clients

If you plan on setting up an online coaching business, you also need a phone system to offer your coaching service.

Even if you have a phone number, you should set a different one for your services. This way, you can keep a clear record when you get more coaching clients.

Plus, it will make it easier for you to keep your private life away from your professional life.

Start Your Life Coaching Marketing Campaign

To become a successful career coach, you must ensure that your coaching service becomes renowned. This is why you need to create an online presence that can reach your target audience.

Social media and paid ads can be very helpful, as well as email marketing. Make sure that the content is SEO-friendly since most clients will most probably look for your service via a Google search.

Finally, make sure to use the power of references. For instance, testimonials can be a good tool to attract new clients, as most individuals are looking for social proof. You may also want to join referral programs or partner with other businesses that can help generate leads for you.

Life Coaching Career FAQ

Life coaching is often a straightforward domain but may also raise several questions in potential business owners. Here are some common questions, along with their answers.

Do You Need a License to Run a Life Coaching Business?

Life coaching is a non-regulated business, so you don't have to get a business license for it. The only exception is if you plan to set up an LLC - in which case, you need a license regardless of your business idea.

Even if you don't require a license, you may still want to get your certification. While it is not absolutely necessary in the eyes of the law, it still appeals to potential customers and makes you look more professional.

Is Life Coaching a Profitable Business?

Depending on where your target market is, a life coaching career can be very rewarding. On average, a life coach earns around $61,000 per year. However, if you go for high-profile clients (i.e., a big company CEO), then you may earn as much as $210,000 per year.

Can You Run an Online-Only Coaching Business?

Nowadays, it is very easy to run an online coaching business, without having to meet your clients face to face. This is a good option for freelancing life coaches that take on international clients.

The coaching session may be held using video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype, and notes may be shared using Google Docs or similar tools.

Platforms such as Bonsai may be used to take care of the financial aspect, such as sending money or delivering a contract.

How Soon Can Life Coaches Start Their Career?

If you don't have an ICF certification by the time you start your coaching career, then you become a life coach when you book your first client. This is a good option for people that live in smaller towns, where competition is low, and you won't have trouble getting clients.

The process can be longer if you go the safe way and get your certification. It takes around 60 to 100 hours to complete life coach training, and you must also have 60 hours of experience.

In the end, most life coaches can start their career around 6-12 months after deciding to become one.

The Bottom Line

Once you learn how to start a life coaching business, it becomes easy to set things in motion. For the most part, it's not that difficult to set up a coaching business as compared to other types of businesses. You simply need to prepare for the work and then follow the steps we put together for you.

Get all the task management, time tracking and tax tools you need to run your coaching business.
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