I often get questions from people who are thinking about becoming health or life coaches, or who are enrolled in a coaching program. If you’re one of them, this post is for you.

The idea of having freedom and quitting your job to work from home in your yoga pants is tempting to a lot of people, and it’s true that there are many people who are making a lot of money at it. But the truth is, there’s many more who are struggling.

The main thing I want to share is that it takes a lot more than just setting up a website and getting business cards printed up. What you’ll be doing is starting a business, and you’re probably going to have to work a lot harder than you ever imagined.

Many people who want to become coaches are drawn to it because they want to help people, and that’s great. That was why I was attracted to The Bulletproof Coach Training Program, which is a really good program.  But in the end, it’s just a certification and it’s up to you to promote yourself.

Although I know sharing what I’ve learned so far will be helpful to people, I’ve resisted publishing it, since I don’t want to give the impression that I have it all figured out or that I’m perfect. I’ve only been a coach less than a year and don’t have tons of clients or a huge e-mail list yet. Plus, I don’t always take my own advice.

I’ll be honest–it hasn’t been easy. I wasn’t expecting the technology to be so hard, and there’s lots of things I should have done differently. For example, I avoided social media for a long time and still don’t post as often as I should, plus I’ve been resisting making videos as one of my patterns is “hiding,” which is common for a lot of people. Putting yourself out there online can be scary. However, I’m learning every day and am enjoying the journey.

My Tips for New Coaches and Wannabe Coaches

Be Yourself

It’s OK to look at what your competitors are doing, but don’t try to model yourself after one person. Yes, there’s a lot of competition, but there’s enough room for everyone as we’re all unique and there are people who will be drawn to you.

Get Yourself Out There

Fear of being judged and rejected comes up for a lot for people starting out in this type of business. The reality is that you have to get over the fear of being seen as people aren’t going to just magically find you. Consider not just focusing on getting clients online, but offline in your community too.

Start Early

Don’t wait until you receive your certification. Many people are held back because they “don’t know enough” or  they “aren’t ready,” or their website isn’t good enough. Just start somewhere–you don’t need to have everything figured out.

Do You Really Need a Certification?

I think it’s a good idea to get a certification if you want to be a life or health coach, since you want the tools and knowledge, but there’s tons of people making money as coaches who don’t. In the end, people are willing to pay for your services if you can solve their problem and give them results. When I asked a social media expert this question recently, she replied, “It’s just a diaper for people starting out.” I’ve encountered people who keep getting more certifications but aren’t doing anything with them.

Get Really Clear About Who You’re Going to Help

Who are your “ideal clients”?  Hint: they’re usually people who are like you. What are their most important wants and needs? How will you help them solve their problems? What results will you help them get? For example, you work with busy moms who want to lose weight or with executives who want to learn workplace biohacks.

Post Regularly on Social Media

Your posts should have a purpose, reflect your brand, and lead people to your website. It’s best to concentrate on just one or two like Facebook and Instagram to start with, and get really good at them before moving on to new ones.

Write Out Your Story

Include your story in your speech that you can use when giving talks or introducing yourself on your web page. People need to get to know, like and trust you before they’ll spend money with you. Plus, it’s the most important thing to help them feel connected to you. Actually, it’s good to have several stories that you can weave into your speeches, depending on what you’re taking about and who you’re speaking to.

Brand Yourself

Often using your name for your website URL is recommended, if it’s available, since you might decide to go in a different direction at some point. If you can afford it, spend the money on help with marketing and branding, but it’s not necessary. I’ve seen a lot of people starting out get hung up on their logo and waste a lot of time on it–it’s not that important.

Work With a Coach or Mentor

I did and highly recommend it. Or join a group of people who are in the same business as you’re going into. Many coaches say it’s the key to their success.

Position Yourself as an Expert

Write blog posts, offer programs, give speeches, and post and comment regularly on social media.

Create Great Content

You don’t want to be just selling what you have to offer all the time. Provide value by giving people content they can use.

Become a Good Public Speaker

Experts say this is one of best ways to get recognized and build your e-mail list.  In addition to speaking on stage, you can get booked on podcasts, webinars, etc. Or even host your own online summit. I turned down a chance to be a guest on a summit and regret it. However, if public speaking really isn’t for you, you might want consider writing and selling online content or programs instead.

Learn Sales Skills

When you become an online entrepreneur, such as a coach, what you’re selling is yourself.  A good book on this is Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port (he also has another good book on speaking). There are also many, many people online giving advice and selling programs aimed at online entrepreneurs on subjects such as how to get clients, how to master social media and much more. I actually wonder if they’re the only ones making money in this industry. It’s easy to get caught up in listening to too many experts and getting overwhelmed with information overload.

Your Website Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

Even if you have a web designer build your website, which I recommend, you will still need to learn things like WordPress, how to blog, and SEO. Fortunately, there’s lots of YouTube videos, tutorials, and books available help with that.

Don’t Outsource Your Website Overseas

I made this mistake and so do a lot of people. It could work out for you, but it can be difficult to get help maintaining your website down the line.

Your Website Should Have a Purpose

Your website should have a way to collect people’s e-mail addresses so you can keep in touch with them. This is achieved though autoresponder software such as MailChimp, ConvertKit or AWeber. Ideally, you want to have more than a sign-up box and give away something like a free e-book or report in exchange for an e-mail address.

Prioritize Growing Your E-mail List

You need e-mail addresses to stay in touch with people on a regular basis. While having lots of people following you on social media is great, you don’t own those lists and they can go away.

Have a Solid Sales “Funnel”

Think about where you’re leading potential clients once they sign up on your e-mail list. Is it to a free webinar? Information product? Group coaching program? It could be to a free discovery session, but going straight to one-on-one coaching can be a hard sell as people need to get to know you first. Consider offering different levels and options of working with you. Right now Facebook challenges are hot, as it’s a great way to lead people to your other programs; low-cost membership programs are also becoming popular.

Manage Your Time Wisely

You’ll need a lot of focus and discipline, which isn’t easy when we’re bombarded with so many distractions. It can be overwhelming with everything you think you need to know. Just take one small step at a time and schedule in your self care so you don’t get burned out.

Create a Business Plan

Map out what you’ll be doing for your first year in business. Be flexible, though, as things will change–use it more as a guide. Some experts recommend setting 90-day goals.

Don’t Try to Do it all Yourself

You can hire a virtual assistant to help with tasks you’re not good at or don’t like doing. They can be affordable and save you lots of time.

Keep Connected to Your “Why”

Reminding yourself why you wanted to do this in the first place will help keep you motivated. Imagine your vision for your future daily.

Do What Feels Right for You

Take all the advice with a grain of salt, including mine. Just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. We all have different skill sets and talents.

Finally, Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Getting clients and making money at coaching takes time.

I hope I haven’t scared you off the idea of a coaching career–I just think it’s important to know that most people who are successful in this line of work often have struggled for a long time and spent a lot of money before getting to where they are.

Good luck with your future endeavors! Leave me a comment if this was helpful.

xo, Kate

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