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How to Become a Life Coach in 5 Steps

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Get excited to kick start your remote career as a life coach! In this article you’ll get all your questions answered to become a life coach. Find out what a life coach is, how to choose your niche as a life coach and how you can get your first client.

You'll be ready to start your life coaching business in 5 simple steps.

Requirements to become a life coach:

  • None! But it helps to love serving and helping others, as well as having a passion for mental health and personal development. 
  • Bonus: A life coach certification will help but it's not mandatory. I'll cover more details about training programs below.

The coaching industry is not regulated. So unlike being a teacher or a therapist, you do not to go through a coach training program or even get a certification to become a coach. But this means it is up to you to show professionalism and set the standard for yourself.

Although it's not mandatory, I highly suggest finding a certification program to learn various tools and techniques to help you stand out in the industry. It will also be a big help if you have the business skills to create and manage a profitable business as an entrepreneur.

a female life coach sitting at her at home office smiling at the camera
A view from my home office

Life Coaches Work Remotely

I am a certified life coach and entrepreneur. I work remotely with high achieving and smart millennial women who struggle with people pleasing via Zoom. Right now I live in Tampa, but I just got back to the US from traveling as a digital nomad in South East Asia for the past four months with my husband. 

It was an experience of a lifetime! 

We traveled and explored Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Bali, India and Cambodia during the day, and worked at night.  

Working at night was harder than I expected it. I had to cut back on the amount of clients I took because of the time change. I need my sleep! 

I think in hindsight we should have stayed in Bali, as that was our favorite country, and traveled from there taking weekend trips to other countries. This would have helped us be less exhausted and have more stability.

If you're new to working online, there is a learning curve to making the remote life work for you, especially if you're trying to work and travel at the same time. My biggest tip for you is to remember, you can't do everything full-time. You'll end up feeling exhausted and not enjoying your traveling, or keeping up with your workload, if you plan to work full-time while you travel full-time.

Not sure if being a life coach is a good match? There are plenty of other remote jobs out there! Check out our list of 11 legitimate online teaching platforms or these 7 other platforms for remote work, that aren’t teaching based.

The Day to Day of Being a Life Coach 

It can look different for everyone, but one of the first things I do every morning is coach myself. This means I use the tools I learned in my certification and apply it to myself to help me see my thoughts clearly so I can understand what thoughts are serving me and which ones I want to work through so they don’t hold me back. 

I also work on marketing, developing content for my blog and social media, doing consultations and coaching my clients. Remember, if you plan to start your own online business, especially as a soloentreprenuer, you'll be responsible for all aspects of your business, not just the coaching bit.

A coach is a wise mentor and usually the one person in someone's life who won’t judge them or give them unsolicited advice.

During a session I hold space for my client. This means I am present and can look at the problem objectively. My sole job as a coach is to ask powerful questions, teach concepts and tools that help my client see their thoughts clearly so they can make the best decisions about their lives. I empower them and love them, even when they are struggling to do that for themselves.

You'd be surprised by the wide variety of people who decide to hire life coaches. Coaches work with people who have a variety of problems, but who are high functioning and want to go to the next level. Coaching focuses on the future and doesn’t analyze the clients past or have them dwell on their problems.

Coaches also do not diagnose and focus more on self exploration, self-development, and self-management. 

Now that we're on the same page of what a life coach is, let's dive into the 5 steps on how you can become a life coach.

Step 1. Hire Yourself A Coach

A year ago I started my company and decided to make a career change from being an elementary school teacher to a successful life coach. I did this because I wanted to be able to help people on my own terms, location independent! During this transition, I worked with career, health and life coaches to help me navigate this major life change

I highly recommend hiring a 1-1 coach yourself to see if you like coaching and what a powerful coaching session looks like from the perspective of a client, not just a coach! 

life coach working from a hammock in Bali
Working from a hammock while we were in South East Asia

Coaches all have different techniques and styles. A good way to see if a new coach is a good fit for you is to set up a consultation (usually they are free), read their blogs, watch their YouTube channels where often they post examples of coaching sessions, join their Facebook groups or listen to their podcast. 

I have never stopped working with a coach, even after I set up my small business and starting working for myself. I have a coach right now and always will. I think coaching is like working out for your brain. For me it is as important as having a cell phone or WIFI.   

Step 2. Get Certified (If You Want)

While a coach training program isn't a requirement to getting started in the life coaching industry, it's an important step to developing coaching skills and business skills. It's one of those things that isn't necessary but in the long run is really nice to have.

Shortly after making my decision to become a life coach I got accepted into The Life Coach School Coaching Certification program

I choose The Life Coach School because of the incredible value it gives to its coaches and its reputation for being known as the Harvard of coaching certifications; which after completing my certification, I would completely agree with. They are one of the only life coaching programs that provide you with the knowledge of coaching, but also teach you to be an entrepreneur. This skill is priceless in the coaching industry. 

You can be the best coach ever, but if you do not know how to market or sell, you won’t be able to financially sustain yourself.

If you’re looking for more in depth help with branding, marketing and setting up your business, the Creatives Platform is a great option. Check out our review of their master class and get $100 off if you sign up with them.

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Step 3. Establish Your Business

After you've hired yourself a coach, have gone through life coach training, and have decided this is the career path for you, it's time to officially establish your business.

To do this, you'll want to set yourself up as either a sole proprietor or an LLC. Many people recommend starting as a sole proprietor if you do not plan to hire any employees and you want to test the waters of your business. From there, you can always transition into an LLC which gives you better business rights. Others jump right into an LLC. I'm not a professional on this front, so I highly recommend you do research to decide which option is best for you. Regardless, I recommend legalizing your business before you take on any clients.

Another more fun step to establishing your business, is to create a social media account or two. I've decided to focus on marketing myself via Instagram but you could choose Facebook, Twitter, or if you plan to focus on business-based life coaching, LinkedIn might be a great place for you.

Shout it to the rooftops when you start your business! Many clients come from word of mouth for a new business, which brings me to step 4.

Step 4. Land Your First Client

It is lots of hard work and that is ok because it is 100% worth it. All the best things in life are. 

During my certification course I started marketing on social media and worked with clients. Some people wait until they have completed their certification, but with a Masters degree in Education and my five years of teaching experience I felt ready to jump right in even without a niche. 

One of the big myths in the industry is that you will not make money without a niche.

I know many coaches who have made 100k by just being a general life coach. I believe a niche can be nice to have, once you have some experience and know what you like to coach on and who you like to coach. Some of the top niche categories are weight loss, over-drinking, business/marketing, relationships, and productivity or organization.

I chose my niche of helping smart, successful millennial women overcome people pleasing tendencies because that has been my story. For almost my whole life I was that polite nice girl who was also a feminist and go getter, but I just struggled saying NO to my bosses, people I admired, parents, people I dated and friends. I was terrified of hurting their feelings or making a wrong move myself. I did A LOT of work on this by practicing little by little, realizing the root cause of my people pleasing tendencies, and building my self worth and confidence. You are your best first client!

Make sure you have financial means to support yourself as you start your business, but once you get those first few clients (which is the hardest part) the personal and financial growth is limitless as a life coach. I know coaches who make no money, to coaches who make more than 7 figures a year and everything in between. 

In some cases, it might be worth it to take on a few free clients to get experience and testimonials before you're able to land paying clients.

Step 5. Serve and Sell

Now that you've gotten all the basics covered, you're really ready to dive head first into the business of life coaching. Remember that your true mission as a life coach is to serve your clients. And to find those clients, you'll need to constantly sell yourself.

Welcome to the cycle of a life coach: serve, sell, serve, sell.

I love it and hope you will, too!

A life coach working as a digital nomad, exploring Angkor Wat during the day
Enjoying those free mornings at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

So to simplify, here are 5 steps to get started as a life coach:

  1. Find yourself a coach and have your own personal growth transformation.
  2. Get certified! (I am biased but The Life Coach School is the best and I heavily researched them all.) 
  3. Start your business legally and on social media. Tell people you are a life coach! 
  4. Get free clients to practice. Keep practicing to build your self confidence until you build your business where people will pay you! 
  5. Serve. Serve. Serve. Sell. Learn marketing, selling and business skills either through your certification program or by hiring a business/marketing coach. 

Now get after it!

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