Starting a life coaching business as an independent coach can be a challenge. This guide helps you create an efficient and pleasant work environment. It also offers some basic operating and marketing systems plus getting the necessary life coaching agreements to ensure you are legally covered.
Let's begin by looking at the basic things you need to put in place if you want to work independently as a life or business coach rather than be employed by a company, in-house.
How you set things up will depend on whether you prefer face to face interaction, phone or by having an online coaching business via Skype or Zoom, or as so many coaches do a mixture that best serves your clients.
However you are going to meet your clients you will need the same basic furniture and equipment.
But if you are doing face to face coaching, you also have to think about how you can make your office into a space that is comfortable for you and private and welcoming for your clients.
My information about setting up a life coaching office for coaches working from home also has some useful information about what you need to get started.
As with any business your coaching practice needs systems to keep track of referrals, coaching session times, payments, expenses and so on.
You also have to decide whether you are going to set yourself up as a sole trader or a limited liability company or whatever structures are available in your country. Your accountant may be the best person to advise you on this.
There are several software program systems specifically written for coaches but they can be pricey and their format may not suit the particular records you want to keep. Many offer a free trial period so you can try before you buy but, to be honest until you reach a point where you really feel overwhelmed keeping track of clients and payments they may not be necessary.
Starting and Running a Coaching Business by Aryanne Oade is written for UK coaches, but has plenty of general information that will help you clarify what will work for you and how to set your coaching business up.
As with any business your coaching practice should be set up so you have protection from the eventuality of legal action. Things like agreements, disclaimers, copyright protection and even a refund policy are critically important.
My lawyer colleague Lisa Fraley, (who incidentally, is also a certified life coach) has made her niche helping coaches with all those legal issues you need to put in place to keep your business and income safe and secure.
You can explore the much needed legal tools to protect your business on my life coaching agreements page.
Get out there and get known. And if like many coaches you are starting off on a tight budget don't despair.
And if you are uncertain about how to tell people about your coaching, I recommend you visit Marketing from Within, where my colleague Cindy Schulson has some great free templates and a community to help with this.
Marketing your coaching need not be expensive and there are many strategies including networking, clever business cards, writing articles and giving presentations as well as social media that can raise your profile with prospective clients.
You'll find how to effectively use these strategies in Simple affordable marketing ideas for a coach.
Some providers of coaching services want you to have insurance to protect themselves against anything you might do in their name, which I think is quite reasonable.
But for coaches working on their own behalf and sticking to the rules with the right legal agreements, contracts and disclaimers in place, personally I don't think it is a must have requirement.
Life Coaching not like therapy or alternative medicine where advice is given. I've asked the question on coaching forums many times - has any life coach ever had to use their insurance when a client has sued them - and to date never got a yes. So whilst taking our insurance may give you peace of mind you have to work out whether you really need it.
Maybe you are confident about what you can charge. Maybe not! There are more words written and seminars presented about setting fees that almost any other aspect of starting a coaching business.
But it is vital to get it right if you are going to attract your ideal coaching client, whether it be a niche in life, executive or corporate coaching.
find some useful pointers to in Life Coaching Fees.
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