How to Start a Home-Based Coaching Business

Intense-looking coach with whistle, stopwatch and clipboard

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If you enjoy working with people and helping them reach their goals and potential, a home-based coaching business might be for you. One of the great advantages to coaching today is that technology has expanded your ability to provide coaching services. No longer are you limited to having an office where you meet people in person or a phone where you might miss subtle visual cues when helping others.

Video conferencing has made face-to-face coaching with clients all over the world possible, which may be one of the reasons the coaching profession has exploded the last few years. If you have the ability to connect with and help people, then coaching might be a great home business option for you.

What Do Coaches Do?

Coaching should not be confused with counseling, which requires a specialized degree and licensing. At the same time, coaches help their clients achieve similar goals aimed at helping them improve their lives. The main difference is that coaches tend to focus on specific areas and measurable outcomes.

A business coach helps entrepreneurs expand their business. A life coach helps someone get clarity on their life's goals and work toward achieving them. A health coach works with people who want help with nutrition and fitness. And so on.

Types of coaching include:

  • Life Coaching
  • Career Coaching
  • Business Coaching
  • Executive Coaching
  • Wellness Coaching
  • Performance Coaching
  • Skills Coaching
  • Financial Coaching
  • Spiritual Coaching

Specialized niches can exist within these areas. For example, a life coach can focus on relationships, a business coach can focus on sales skills, or a wellness coach can focus on smoking cessation.

What are Coaches Paid?

Pay for coaches varies a great deal depending on the type of coach, where the coach does business, and other factors. According to PayScale, as of February 2021, pay for life coaches can range from $28,000 to $263,000 per year, with a median hourly rate of $32.38 per hour. Those that provide coaching to businesses generally are paid more, as companies usually have more to spend on coaching than individuals.

The Pros of Coaching

  • Anyone with people skills and the ability to help can become a coach. Although it’s recommended you take some courses and get certified, the coaching profession isn’t highly regulated yet, which means anyone can call themselves a coach.
  • It’s affordable to start. Odds are you already have the equipment needed to start: a computer. You can download Skype for free and buy a quality set of headphones for under $50. You should also have a website, coaching contract and perhaps homework materials, but again, those can be had for a reasonable price.
  • You can feel good about helping people in the area you coach in.
  • You can do individual or group coaching. Especially for people who can’t afford one-on-one time with you, group coaching allows them a way to work with you, and in turn, you can help more people in less time.
  • You can offer add-on products or services to further assist your clients. Many coaches have books and home study products giving them additional income streams. Many of these can be passive income sources.

The Cons of Coaching

  • Although not required at this time, getting certified can increase your credibility and marketability. But getting a coaching certification takes time and money.
  • You need great people skills and patience. Just because people come to you for help doesn’t mean they’ll do what you suggest. In fact, many people are fearful and resistant to change, so you need to be able to support, encourage and sometimes challenge your clients to make needed changes.
  • You’ll spend a lot of time on the phone or video conferencing. If you don’t mind having many appointments a day, that won’t be a problem.
  • You need to be in top form whenever you’re with clients. You might feel bad, have a personal issue or other difficulties in your life, but when you’re with a client, you need to be “on” no matter what.
  • It can take awhile to build a solid, stable business.

Steps for Starting a Coaching Business

If you’re ready to give a coaching business a go, here are tips to getting started.

  • Decide what type of coaching you’re going to do: Life and business coaching are extremely popular, but they aren’t the only types of coaching you can do. You can be a weight loss, fitness or health coach, parenting or relationship coach, organizational or productivity coach, technical coach, sales coach or a career coach.
  • Consider getting coaching training: Again, this is not required, but it can help you be a better coach, provide you with helpful tools, and earn you certification, which can increase your credibility and marketability. It goes without saying that you should have knowledge and skills in the area you want to coach in. This can come from personal experience, but you might want additional training. For example, a fitness coach could benefit from having a fitness certification.
  • Set up your business: Decide your business structure, create a business name and get a business license as required by your city or county. Consult with a lawyer to write a coaching contract that outlines your services and expectations.
  • Pull together needed equipment and materials: If you’ll be doing video conferencing, download the needed software and purchase a quality headset. Some coaches record calls and give them to their clients so they can review their sessions. If you want to do that, you’ll need to get software that will record and store your calls. If you plan to have handouts or homework, put those together.
  • Build a website: Potential clients need a place to learn about your coaching business, and there’s no better place to sell your coaching and related materials than on a website. Write content that is client-focused and describes how you can help people improve their lives. If you have testimonials, then post them on your website.
  • Create a marketing plan: Figure out your best clients and where you can find them, then develop marketing strategies to lure them to your business. For example, if you’re a career coach, you should develop a LinkedIn profile. If you’re a personal training coach, you might want to have videos on YouTube that offer fitness tips or teach specific exercises.
  • Market, market, market: Getting your first client will likely be the hardest. Use your personal and professional network to help. Consider offering free 15 or 30-minute coaching sessions to entice people to try you out. Start a blog or write articles for other blogs and media that provide tips that can help you gain exposure and credibility. Another great way to get clients is by offering workshops.

Coaching isn’t a business to take lightly. People are entrusting their emotional and possibility their physical well-being to you. You owe it to them to stay on top of current trends in your industry, as well as best practices for coaches.