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If you’re someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for helping others, consider starting your own life coaching business! Life coaches can make an uncapped income as there are plenty of ways to monetize your knowledge, including live coaching sessions, downloadable resources, social selling, and more. This guide will walk through the basics of getting set up as a life coach to start growing your industry reputation and earning your first few clients. Already know a bit and looking for something specific? Dive straight to your preferred topic here: 

Table of contents:

The role of a life coach

Life coaches are important for helping people achieve their goals. There are many specialities in the field, including focuses on:

  • Relationships
  • Travel
  • Career
  • Daily habits
  • Family

Many coaches are there to help clients understand their goals, identify metrics for success, and build a plan to get there within a specific time frame. Life coaches are there as a support system to help work out new solutions to challenges that are preventing their clients from reaching the next level of improvement that they’re seeking. Most client and coaching relationships will last for the long-term.

Requirements to start working as a life coach

While getting started as a life coach is a relatively easy thing to do, it’s not for just anyone. Here are a few core things you’ll need to get started:

  1. Experience 

Of course you’ll need some life experience of your own. Depending on where you specialize, this experience can vary greatly but you should aim to have at least 5 full years of experience in your niche with a diverse range of situations covered in that time. Ideally, this experience will also be from a professional setting rather than personal experience but it’s okay to have your knowledge come from a blend of sources. 

  1. Program

You’ll also need to have your own coaching program built out that you can walk clients through. This doesn’t need to be tried-and-tested, but it would be great if you could get feedback on it from someone in your target audience before you use it in practice. 

  1. Skills

As you’ll work closely with many of your clients, it is important to have strong interpersonal skills such as being good at making connections with strangers, high emotional intelligence (EI), and the ability to be confident on camera (if you plan to host your coaching sessions over video conferencing). And don’t forget about great business management skills! Most of your time will involve managing budget, scheduling meetings or content, and reporting on business successes. 

  1. Passion

At your core, you will need to be passionate about what you’re teaching. As a life coach, your main responsibility is to inspire clients to lead a better, more fulfilling life. You can’t do this if you’re not passionate about the conversation or if you don’t feel motivated to support other people on their own journeys.

  1. Budget

Fortunately, becoming a life coach isn’t cost prohibitive for most people. With your own skills and passion, you’ll just need to invest in a few tools, certification programs, and business administration costs such as website domains and legal set-up fees. If you’re hosting your life coaching business in a physical office space, you will also need to consider the costs of renting the office, commuting to and from work, and purchasing office supplies or furniture. 

Getting life coach training and certification

It sounds a bit funny, but to become a life coach to train other people on how to live out their dreams, you also need to go through a bit of training. This helps prove your knowledge and experience to new potential clients. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) hosts plenty of courses to learn from in a variety of niches or you can check out these highly rated courses. They also offer continuing education credits that can be earned through attendance at select conferences in your niche, completion of more advanced courses, or engagement with the local community on select initiatives related to your coaching business. 

Building a life coaching business plan

The key to making your life coaching business successful is to thoughtfully and strategically plan how your business will be created, organized, and promoted. 

  1. Understanding your target audience

Before you begin anything related to content creation, lead generation, or actual coaching, take time to understand your target audience. It’s best to have a narrow view on who you plan to serve. This will help you develop niche marketing messaging that will have a better appeal to your audience and a higher likelihood of leads converting to sales down the line. For example, rather than saying you’re wanting to help anyone improve their relationships, focus on a more specific segment such as recent divorcees or LGBTQ+ groups.  

  1. Determine your own personal brand

Building your own personal brand identity helps potential clients understand and relate to you before they’re officially working with you. Your brand identity should strongly align to the needs and interests of your target audience. It will also affect which marketing channels you use and the style of your content later on. As you grow and experiment with your business plan, your brand identity can change too. But it’s good to have a starting point when you first kick things off.

Identifying marketing strategies

There are plenty of marketing tactics you can use to promote your new life coaching business. Before we jump into different approaches, it’s important to understand the difference between these terms:

Marketing TermMeaningExamples
StrategyThe overarching theme that guides all tactics.
  • Build a strong foundation and generate organic growth slowly
  • Spend a lot and earn high growth fast
TacticThese are different approaches to reach your audience. 
  • Email marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Cold calling
  • Content marketing
ChannelThese are the platforms or locations where your tactics are being put into action and delivered to your audience.
  • Social media like TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest
  • Billboard or out-of-home (OOH) marketing
  • Search engines like Google, Bing, and Safari
  • Email newsletters
  • In-person events
  • Webinar
  • Your own website built with a tool like Wix, Shopify, or Thinkific’s course site builder
TouchpointEvery time a potential customer makes contact with your brand by seeing, hearing, or otherwise learning about your offering.
  • Hearing about you in a conversation
  • Seeing your social media post or advertisement
CTAA call-to-action that encourages your lead on what to do next
  • Book now
  • Call for information
  • Discover more
CTRThe click-through-rate measures how many people saw a digital touchpoint and clicked on the CTA for more information 
Conversion RateThe number of people that became clients after seeing your marketing approaches
  • Book now
  • Call for information
  • Discover more


It’s important to consider your budget when selecting a marketing tactic. There are many paid and unpaid options available. For example:

Paid marketing options include:

  • Advertising on social media or search engines (eg. Google Ads)
  • Out-of-home advertising such as posters or billboards
  • Paying a third party website for a digital newsletter or display ad sponsorship

Unpaid marketing options include:

  • Writing your own content like blogs or whitepapers to try and earn SEO rankings
  • Recording podcast episodes and posting them on YouTube
  • Designing your own social media graphics with Canva and posting them
  1. Creating a sales funnel

A sales funnel guides your audience from the first time they learn about your business to becoming a paying client, to eventually even referring your services to a new client. The most basic sales funnel stages include:

  1. Awareness: This is the stage where you introduce your life coaching services and explain the benefits. 
  2. Intrigue: At this level, you’re trying to convince a potential client why they should keep learning more about you. Leverage thought leadership here.
  3. Decision-making: Now, it’s important to show how your coaching services stand out from other life coaches in the area. Talk about your certifications, experience, and industry reputation.
  4. Conversion: This is when clients are ready to start paying you for your services!
  5. Post-conversion: Consider upsell or referral opportunities to boost customer loyalty. Maintaining a customer is much more affordable than generating a new client, and it helps improve your reputation to have long-term clients. 
  1. Planning the post-sell customer journey

Maintaining and growing with your client base in the long-term is so important that it deserves its own focus area. The main three ways of leveraging your existing clients for future success are:

  1. Keeping them where they are

Repeat, stable business is good business! Having regularly recurring meetings and working with your client on their life goals can bring in steady income that is an important part of growth. As a best practice, don’t try to convert all of your existing clients to higher paying options at the same time. You’ll appreciate having some stability in your business. 

  1. Finding opportunities for upselling

If a client is ready to take their services to the next level, such as going from a group coaching session to a one-on-one training session, make sure you have a plan to nurture them through this upsell process. You can also offer upsell opportunities by selling content like e-books, research papers, workbooks, or other tools that they need to reach their goals. 

  1. Encourage customer referrals

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of success for many businesses as the higher this number is, the more likely your customers are to scream your name from the rooftop when it comes to referring new business your way. It’s a good idea to run your NPS surveys with clients every few months. You can also consider offering clients incentives for referrals, such as 50% their next session. This is a fantastic approach to use if you have a customer who may not be able to spend more money with you or may not use your services for a long time but still had a positive experience. 

Tips to get your first client

  1. Build network connections. Building trust with your clients is necessary for your first interactions to go well, and what better way to earn trust than by having a connection to someone in your network! Talk with your LinkedIn connections, meet people at events, or engage with community activities.
  2. Engage with your target audience where they are. Spend time researching where your target audience finds information and post your promotional activities solely on those channels. Don’t spend time experimenting with new channels with less engagement from your target audience until you have a strong cash flow and book of business. 
  3. Offer a free trial. This isn’t a good long-term solution for monetizing your skills, but it is a good way to give new clients a risk-free way to try working with you. For example, offer your first five clients to have their first session with you for free. 
  4. Focus on establishing industry reputation. Continue developing thought leadership content like blogs or whitepapers, or be a guest on an industry podcast. This helps you generate leads and shows off your knowledge.
  5. Build a strong online presence. When potential clients search for you, they’ll want to see that you have an online presence to show credibility, which may include a website, LinkedIn profile, contributions to other websites, or other relevant social channels. Over time, reviews & testimonials will help here too. 

How to scale a coaching business

  1. Continuously experiment. Even if you have experience running other businesses, the strategies that made that business successful might not be the same ones that make this one grow. A/B testing is a popular approach to experimentation that allows you to test multiple versions of something at the same time then eventually convert to just using the top performer after the testing period ends.
  1. Collect feedback. Ask your clients about their experience. Reflect on things like how they found out about your business, what they wish they knew early on, and areas that they’d like to see you improve or expand. Try not to take feedback too harshly and instead view it as areas to continue growing your business in a positive direction that works best for your client base.
  1. Identify new areas of expansion. You can do more than just selling your coaching services. A great way to scale sales is to monetize digital products, like templates, workbooks, or pre-recorded videos. If you’re using Thinkific to host your coaching business, you can also leverage it for selling digital products too. 
  1. Leverage automation and AI. Many coaches spend a lot of their day planning, creating schedules, ideating solutions for their clients to improve, and organizing their work. Luckily, AI can take some of that workload off your shoulders! For example, SaneBox can help with managing your inbox when it’s full from client requests and Descript can help you edit videos or podcasts before you add them to your coaching courses or marketing content.
  1. Don’t be afraid to cut things that aren’t working. As you continuously review and experiment with things around your business, you’ll notice things that do work well and things that don’t. Whether it’s a marketing strategy, approach to coaching, or even if your niche just doesn’t have as much traction as you thought it would, know that it’s okay to pivot. It’s okay to stop putting energy into areas that aren’t providing a good investment and re-allocate those resources into new areas. 

Free life coaching templates

We wanted to provide a bit of extra support as you kick off your life coaching journey. Try one of these free life coaching templates that will help you with setting goals for your business, reflecting on your business growth and experimentation, logging client progress, and more.

Free Life Coaching Templates: Download Now

Several templates can also be used to guide clients through their own goal setting and progress check-ins! 


It’s an exciting and easy time to start a life coaching business! If you’re passionate about helping people in a specific niche, trained to coach people, and ready to put your business management skills to work, this role could present you with uncapped income. With so many great digital tools available, the set-up requirements and costs are fairly low to get started. Many content creation, promotional, and client management tools have free plans available and platforms like Zoom can allow you to connect with clients from anywhere. Thinkific gathers your material in one place to make it easy for new potential clients to find and purchase your life coaching services, whether that’s in the form of live sessions or downloadable assets. Try Thinkific for free here today