Do you feel like it’s time for your talent as a coach to become more than just a hobby?
Maybe you’ve been holding on to a certification or providing services as a volunteer/hobbyist coach, but you’re now considering starting your own business.
The question then becomes, “Where do I start?”
I’m sure as you’ve researched this question, you’ve been bombarded with information. There are countless tips, tricks, and most of them are gimmicky or repeating the advice of thousands of other articles.
But this post isn’t going to tell you to “write a book” or “build a website” as your first steps in becoming an entrepreneur.
We’re going to address the real first steps in starting a life coaching business, and it all starts with you.
Today, you’ll be equipped with practical, actionable tools to jumpstart your business as well as the entrepreneurial mindset to use them successfully!
As well as helping you overcome failure fears, self-sabotage, and judgment, this ultimate guide will lay out a comprehensive framework for long-term success.
If you’re ready to play full out, let’s get started.
Things to Consider If You’re Thinking of Becoming an Entrepreneur
Franklin D Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
In order to have courage in pursuing what you want in life, there needs to be some level of confidence.
As in confidence that you will decide on your dream, day after day!
This means you need to know that you can make it happen, and you also have to believe that you deserve it.
That being said, if you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, here are a few things to check off your list before jumping into the deep end.
1. Identify a problem you’re passionate about solving.
Where is there a need or a gap in the industry/market you’re a part of? As a life coach, think about the type of transformation you’d love to help your clients achieve to guide this decision.
2. Get clear on your idea.
Your imagination is powerful, use it to build your vision. Be as specific and clear as possible about the services you’ll offer, the promise you make for your clients, and even the goals you have for yourself!
3. Consider a SWOT analysis & competitive advantage.
This technique, popularized by Stanford University, helps you define the Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – and Threats of your business.
S.W.O.T. breaks down your business into actionable pieces:
- Strengths – Clearly identifies your core competencies, letting you build on them to meet your business goals. This will include both hard skills and soft skills you’ve learned and used throughout your career that you can transfer to your coaching practice.
- (How do you stand out from others? What resources, talents, and/or skills do you have that give you an edge?)
- Weaknesses – Helps you identify areas of improvement or aspects of running a business that you may not be yet familiar with or where you could use a structure of support.
- (What would your clients love to see changed or improved? Where can you save yourself time and resources through automation and delegation?)
- Opportunities – Provides insight into possible innovations in your target market/industry and informs your growth strategy. One of the easiest ways to find opportunities is through ideal client research.
- (How are your client’s needs changing? Are there new social media channels that your target audiences are moving to?)
- Threats – Helps you evaluate and minimize potential risk to your business, so you can make needed policy changes and take necessary action. Also makes it easy to make backup plans, contingency plans, etc.
- (What are some beliefs or behaviors that could dissuade, distract, or delay me from my entrepreneurial journey? )
By taking the time to research and study into those four elements, you’ll have more direction and clarity as you build your life coaching business!
4. Get familiar with your audience.
Who will you serve, why do they need it, and what will their life look like without the service you offer? And once you know what your audience would love, how do you deliver on your promise and solve their pain points?
Get clear on who you would love to serve as a life coach. Not everyone is going to be a perfect fit, and you’ll save time, effort, and resources by filtering out the wrong clients.
I encourage you to make the conscious decision to work with high-quality clients who know your worth and are willing and ready to play full out. You can make this process easier with a Life Coaching Client Intake Form.
Becoming an entrepreneur in the life coaching industry, will lead you to say “no” in order to make room for those who are ready to say “yes” to their dream!
5. Understand business structures.
What’s the difference between a sole proprietorship, an LLC, and an S-Corporation? More importantly, which structure is best for YOUR business? Each structure has different tax and legal nuances, so I encourage you to research well and seek professional counsel. It would be especially helpful to consider the type of business license and insurance that best fits your business practice.
6. Create Financial Projections.
In a financial projection, you can get an idea of how your company will do in the near future. Businesses owners look to projections to predict whether a business will grow and be profitable.
It’s also beneficial to keep a thorough account of the following:
- P&L (Profit & Loss account)
- Balance Sheets
- Cash Flow
Having these elements in place can help you stay fiscally responsible, plan future expenses, and reduce financial risk.
7. Learn the Basics of Marketing.
Marketing isn’t just for the big companies. It’s crucial for every stage of business, especially when you’re just starting off. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the early stages as well. A great place to start is the 4 P’s of marketing – think of it as the pillars to any good marketing foundation.
Product – What you’re selling (products, courses, software, coaching services).
Price – How much you’re charging for your product(s) and service(s).
Place – Where your ideal clients hang out and where they can find you (social media, brick-and-mortar, etc.)
Promotion – How your clients find you (online, word of mouth, etc.)
Keep in mind that these are answers that will evolve as you grow. I encourage you to flesh out the first round, welcome feedback, and expand from there.
8. Invest in a Mentor.
If your dream requires you to grow, you’re on the right track. One of the most crucial paths to success is seeking mentorship. I encourage you to check testimonials and ensure that the mentor you choose has active and recent evidence of their success.
More importantly, check for alignment. Is your mentor living in the results you would love for yourself?
Let’s take for instance the head coach for each division here at the Brave Thinking Institute:
Mary Morrissey, Founder of the Life & Transformation division:
Widely regarded as the world’s foremost expert on “dream-building,” the art and science of transforming dreams into results. Throughout her 50 years of study and 40 years of teaching spiritual principles, Mary’s books, workshops and seminars have empowered millions of people around the globe to achieve greater meaning, purpose, aliveness and success!
Mat Boggs, Co-Founder of the Coaching Certification division & Founder of the Love & Relationships:
A world-renowned authority on love and relationships, is regarded as one of the nation’s top relationship coaches. He loves supporting coaches in building their brands and businesses by employing proven marketing strategies that attract clients in a highly effective, yet supportive, way.
John Boggs, CEO of Brave Thinking Institute & Founder of the Business and Leadership division:
In order to turn your passion for coaching into a successful business, you have to know what works. John Boggs is an expert in this field. He has provided business and leadership coaching and training for executives at organizations such as The World Bank, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, The Marriott Corporation, Citigroup, and Century 21.
Jennifer Joy Jiménez, Founder and Director of the Health and Wellness division:
Building a coaching business requires leading successful enrollment conversations, and Jennifer Jiménez is the perfect guide. She’s helped entrepreneurs boost revenue by over $40 million as co-founder of Conversations that Close. Additionally, she runs a thriving coaching business that helps thousands of people a year become more confident, healthy, joyful, abundant, and full of life.
I invite you to look at those ahead of you as proof that you CAN build the profitable, sustainable business of your dreams doing what you love. And the right mentor will show you how.
9) Start Small & Grow Bigger.
When starting a new business, one of the most common mistakes people make is trying to do too much too fast.
When you’re starting out, I recommend focusing on getting the basics right before adding anything else.
For example, if you’re wondering whether you should be investing time in developing your program or jumping right into enrolling clients, ask yourself:
“Would it be best to focus on setting up sales calls or finding a coaching curriculum that provides real transformation to your clients first?”
I encourage you to reflect on which decision provides the most long-term benefits and offers the most value to your clients.
And remember: no matter how small the action, baby steps will still lead you up Mt. Everest.
10) Expand your Education and Skills.
If the last nine elements have you scratching your head, you’re not the first to feel overwhelmed or confused. It takes time, tenacity, and resiliency to make it on your own – but it’s not impossible.
However, if you’re interested in skipping beginner mistakes and taking an accelerated path to success, you could save time and money with a coaching certification program. Since not all programs are built the same, I encourage you to find a program that matches your values, supports your goals, and has a proven track-record producing results.
By providing the most advanced business-building systems, we help life coaches start, sustain, and scale successful businesses. All of our systems have been carefully tested and fine-tuned by our expert faculty and packaged to make it as easy as possible for you to use.
In addition, our coaching certification program teaches you more than coaching skills. Our faculty guides you through every aspect of starting and operating a profitable, impactful life coaching business – everything from billing to best practices to scaling.
Ultimately, let your heart guide you to the program that’s best fit for your goals and values. Dive into research, check their testimonials, and ask questions.
And if you decide to grow on your own, rather than having a structure of support, remember that with a lot of hard work and trial and error, you might just be able to do it!
What are the common barriers to becoming an entrepreneur?
Whether this is your first attempt to start your own coaching business or one of many, I want to encourage you that failing at your attempts doesn’t mean that coaching isn’t great after all.
It also doesn’t mean that you’re doing it all wrong.
Failures and mistakes are only show-stoppers if you allow them to be.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, was once asked, “How did you figure you were going to start a car company and be successful at it?”
He responded with, “I didn’t really think Tesla would be successful. I thought we would most likely fail. But I thought we’d at least address the false perception that people had that an electric car had to be ugly…slow…and boring like a golf cart.”
Surprised, the interviewer continued, “But you say you didn’t expect the company to be successful. Then why try?“
Elon Musk replied, “If something is important enough, you should try even if the probable outcome is failure.”
My question to you: “How important is life coaching to you?”
How important is it that you help others create lives they love and finally achieve their dream?
How important is it for your clients to create those results?
When you shift your focus to positive expectation and remind yourself of the impact and results you create, you choose faith over fear.
It’s about deciding that your dream is more important than failure that will help you challenge limiting beliefs and take action towards success!
To Become a Successful Entrepreneur, You Must Challenge Your Beliefs
If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, then you must challenge long-held beliefs that may be holding you back. There are a lot of thinking patterns and limiting beliefs that are rooted in your childhood, school, media, and other critical influences.
These limiting paradigms keep you locked into your comfort zone and dissuade, distract, and delay you from taking action towards your dream.
Therefore, the key to success on your entrepreneurial journey is about thinking and acting outside of your comfort zone. When you allow yourself to release the how and focus on your dream, it results in a paradigm shift that opens up unlimited possibilities.
Let’s begin with how you think about money as a life coach.
Overcoming Money Paradigms as an Entrepreneur
One of the most common money paradigms I see among life coaches who are considering entrepreneurship is that they believe “It’s wrong to take money to help people.”
This is a mindset that focuses on money as the end result. When really, life coaching is about the results your clients will create while working with you.
And people love to invest in results.
If you think about it, in any business sector, people get paid lots of money for results!
Think about the value that you bring to someone rather than thinking about “charging money”.
So, I challenge you to consider how valuable it is for someone to create a life they love.
At the end of the day, you go above and beyond just “helping people.”
People work with coaches to hold their feet to the fire and help them achieve what might otherwise be impossible to do on their own. Life coaches accelerate results and create lifelong transformation for their clients.
Clients who are ready and willing to live their dreams will see the opportunity to work with you as an opportunity. And by “getting to work with you”, it’s not about “taking” their money.
It’s about your clients putting skin in the game and taking their dreams seriously.
Ultimately, it’s about realizing your talents as a life coach are about generating repeatable, predictable results (and how money flows naturally with that investment).
Trust Yourself & Play Full Out with an Entrepreneurial Mindset
During the initial growth stage of a life coach becoming an entrepreneur, most people struggle with:
- Failure mentality.
- Self-judgment & Self-sabotage.
- Expectations that were too high for where they should be.
- Being negatively influenced by their inner circle (family and friends affirming that life coaching is just a hobby and nothing more).
You’re not alone in your experiences with imposter syndrome, the voice of your inner critic, and pressure from external factors and influences.
But the truth is you are more powerful and contain more potential than any of your circumstances, situations, or conditions.
This doesn’t mean you won’t ever feel down or have to pretend your emotions don’t exist.
You can have these mistakes, failures, and other negative experiences without those experiences having you!
What do I mean by that?
It’s about learning how to use your internal pause button.
You can shift from panic and our default common hour thinking (focused on fear, uncertainty, and insecurity) to brave thinking.
Let’s dive into how you can use your internal pause button along your journey in becoming an entrepreneur.
Brave Thinking Tool: Your Internal Pause Button
When you start on your entrepreneurship journey, you’ll often feel a sense of discomfort and unknowing.
Sometimes it’s hard to evaluate if your actions are working. But when you run into stumbling blocks, it’s important to keep moving forward while nurturing your life coaching dream.
To illustrate, I’ll share a brave thinking tool from the Founder of Brave Thinking Institute, Mary Morrissey.
Back in 1971, Mary attended a lecture with her husband and heard the phrase “Nothing is bad, unless you think it’s bad.”
She recoiled the moment she heard it. There wasn’t a single piece of herself that believed it.
Mary thought, “That’s absolutely not true. There is definitely bad stuff in this world. Car wrecks, war, etc.”
And after a brief pause, the lecturer continued on and agreed with the unspoken thoughts in the crowd.
“I know what you’re thinking, and I agree with you. There are things in this world we would all love to help make change.
But here’s the truth.
In everything, there is some good.
It’s not the thing itself that makes it bad or good — it’s what you do with it in your mind and actions.
If you decide ‘this is bad’, you’re going to have your way. So let me give you a tool you can use to experiment with this…
The next time something happens in your life that triggers a knee-jerk reaction of ‘this is bad!’, hit your internal pause button and wait three days.
But don’t just wait three days. During those three days, turn up your curiosity on what possible good there could be in that situation.
Then, if you still can’t find any good in that situation, go ahead and get all upset.
You haven’t surrendered your ability or your freedom to get all upset and frustrated!
But just give it a chance.”
Two days later, Mary got an unexpected chance to practice the exercise.
Her husband got laid off from work.
Her immediate reaction was “This is so bad! How are we going to survive – I’m still in undergrad school and we have little kids!”
But instead of surrendering to the panic, she made the conscious decision to press her internal pause button.
She glanced at her watch: 5 o’ clock on a Tuesday.
That meant she had until 5 o’ clock Friday to raise her curiosity and find the good. If not, she would allow herself to panic.
Here’s the realization: you can schedule your own panic!
Instead of being a panic button just waiting for circumstances to press for a reaction, you can take control.
Over the next few days, Mary had to remind herself “5 o’ clock Friday” every time panic started to rise within her.
Her husband started writing down a list of possible goods and what he would love:
- I drive 90 minutes to work and back every day. What if I worked closer to home?
- What if I lived so close to home I can bike to work?
- What if I loved what I was doing instead of trading my time for money?
- What if I found a job where I worked less hours AND made more money?
By Wednesday he started giving out applications. Thursday, he had interviews and phone calls.
When Mary got home that Thursday, he told her that he got a job closer to home (biking-distance away), more pay, and less hours!
(Imagine a similar transformation occurring in your own life with a successful life coaching business that gives you time and money freedom, and the opportunity to serve others in life-changing ways!)
This experience started to open Mary’s eyes to the power that’s in each one of us…
To have an experience without the experience having you.
That things don’t happen to you, but with you.
And that it’s all about how you orient the experience you’re having.
This is important to remember as you go through difficult or rocky times. You can be more than the circumstances you are moving through.
Instead of focusing on what you’re comfortable with, pause the disbelief and consider your dream. Like Mary’s husband, you’ll find yourself exactly where your desires pull you to!
Don’t get stuck on the “how” but be clear about the “what”. Soon enough, you’ll find that your internal pause button is one of your most valuable tools in becoming an entrepreneur and breaking through your comfort zone.
Successful Entrepreneurs Visualize their Goals
Everything is created twice. First in thought, then in form.
What I mean by that is your thoughts come first and from those thoughts you create your reality.
This is called “the results formula” and it goes like this:
Thoughts > Feelings > Actions > Results
What most people don’t know is that your thoughts carry a vibration. Collectively, those vibrations create a frequency that attracts “like things” into your life.
So, when you think about lack and scarcity, you attract more of the same negative experiences into your life. But if you’re thinking on a frequency of abundance, you’ll also attract more abundance in your life.
This is called the Universal Law of Attraction (popularly understood as “like attracts like”).
But why does this all matter?
Because that means your results don’t have to rely on the “facts” of competitors and marketing conditions. When you pour positive energy into your business and your coaching clients, your circumstances, situations, and conditions become irrelevant to your success!
In short, having a successful business, especially as a life coach, requires a clear vision that’s a vibrational match to the results you desire.
The Law of Vibrational Fit tells us to match the frequency of the reality you want.
You can achieve this in 3 ways:
Calibrating your thoughts.
This means creating a specific, clear vision of the results you desire in your coaching business.
Calibrating your feelings.
Bring your thoughts and feelings into alignment with each other. Clarifying your dream is one thing, having positive expectations and confidence in it becoming your reality is another. Pour positive energy into your business as if it’s already generating the results you would love.
Calibrating your actions.
Take daily action towards your vision. By taking baby steps, you’re moving into vibrational alignment with your dream.
“Envisioning” isn’t the most attractive step to a business plan, so it’s often overlooked. The truth is, your vision is the foundation upon which everything else rests.
Your vision is the blueprint for success. It’s where you get clarity around what you’re meant to accomplish.
That’s why your vision is one of the foundational elements in our coaching certification program here at the Brave Thinking Institute. This is especially true when you’re just starting out! And after training thousands of successful coaches for over a decade, we believe it’s a non-negotiable element to any profitable, sustainable life coaching business.
Life Coaching Business Resources for Entrepreneurs
If you’ve gotten this far, I have a good feeling you’re serious about taking the next step in becoming an entrepreneur. The transition may seem daunting at first, but with the right process, system, and mentorship, you’ll be on your way to success faster than figuring it all out on your own.
Remember that the real first steps in your entrepreneurial journey are all about your mindset. Without the right energetic foundation, it’ll be much easier to stop short of reaching success. Let’s recap:
- Get specific about the “what” and release the “how”.
- Take risks and learn from your failures (you can learn how to avoid the most common costly mistakes here).
- Align your thoughts, feelings, and actions around your intended vision.
- Invest time in asking questions, creating, and networking.
- Embrace the baby steps and stay focused.
If you’re interested in becoming an entrepreneur, there are many resources available to you. But those resources tend to be scattered in so many different places.
So, if you’d love a one-stop shop for building a sustainable, profitable life coaching business, I invite you to download our free resource: The Thriving Coaching Business Checklist.
Inside, you’ll discover how to create positive change as a coach, building an ethical coaching business, and how to structure it for success right out the gate.
To building a business you love and nothing less,