How to Legally Start an Online Coaching Business
An online coaching business offers many benefits, with one of the top being able to work with clients from all over the world without leaving your home. The aspect in an of itself makes online coaching a convenient, cost-effective, and flexible business start.
So, if you have the right qualifications from training or life experiences, important skills that include empathy and exceptional listening, and love the idea of helping others from the comfort of your home, it may be the perfect business for you.
What Type of Online Coach Can You Be?
There are so many niches you can choose from when coaching people, which can make it a bit confusing to choose one. My best advice when getting started? To make it as easy as possible, choose a niche you already have some experience in. Look at your past experiences and how you could best deliver results to clients.
For example, if you have experience as a recruiter, human resources professional, or college advisor, starting a business as a career coach would be a great option. Of course, you don’t need to be limited by your professional experience. Look at any results you’ve achieved in your personal life and how that can translate to helping others with coaching services.
Have you seen results in your health through exercising, diet, or other lifestyle changes? Then being a health coach may be your thing. Have years of experience of parenting under your belt? Why not start a life coaching business focused on parenting?
You get the idea! Take the time to really dig into all your experiences, both professional and personal, until you identify a niche that makes the most sense for you and that you’re excited about. And remember: You can always pivot down the road if it ends up not being a fit or you want a change. But picking a niche is the simplest way to just get going.
How to Start an Online Coaching Business
You know you want to be a coach but you’re probably wondering how to build a successful online coaching business. There are some important things you’ll need to plan for when getting up and running, so use this ultimate guide as a starting point on your journey toward a profitable, successful online business.
Since different countries and states have different regulations, the specifics of your business plan will depend on where you’re located. However, there are still basic legal steps you need to take, such as picking a name for your business, registering your business, getting business insurance, and getting contracts in place. Find out more about these steps by watching this video training on how to start an online coaching business.
Beyond these legal steps, you need to set up a strong foundation for your coaching business. The following 5 questions are the most frequently asked questions I hear from online coaches who are just getting started.
What coaching niche should I pick?
As discussed above, it’s important to pick a niche. Defining a niche from the get-go will be incredibly helpful because the online coaching space, while amazing, is also highly competitive.
There are countless skilled coaches all over the world looking to start building a successful online coaching business – just like you. And identifying a niche is a very powerful, effective way to get noticed by your target audience and stand out in a crowded sea of coaches.
Craft a well-defined niche that makes what you do and how you help your ideal clients clear. Then share it on social media, your website, and at networking events to easily attract the right coaching clients.
What training do online coaches need?
Do you need more training or knowledge to feel confident enough to start coaching people in your chosen niche? Then get the minimum training needed to put yourself out there and get started.
However, I need to really caution you to avoid the trap of continually enrolling in different training and certification programs. This only ends up in a vicious cycle, resulting in you constantly learning but never getting your business off the ground.
You can always take more training in the future, after you get more direct client experience under your belt. But keep in mind that the best way to build confidence and gain experience is through trial by fire (i.e., actually coaching people). You definitely need to learn what your scope of practice is — that’s what tells you what an online coach can legally do.
How do I create online coaching offers?
Your offers are how you work with your clients, and there are so many ways to do so online. From packages for 1:1 coaching sessions to group coaching programs to online courses, online coaching can be delivered in a variety of ways.
When thinking about your offers, one of the most important elements to consider is how you can create coaching packages that can make a tangible difference in the lives of your clients. When you’re developing your first coaching program, think about designing something that is enjoyable and incredibly transformational, getting your clients real results.
Most new coaches start out offering 1:1 coaching sessions and packages. As they gain experience, they’re able to better understand what motivates their ideal clients and what types of transformation they’re looking for. From there, the next logical step is to create a group coaching program. This model is a great way to help more people and make more money – without burning yourself out. After all, you can only work with so many clients individually!
As you learn even more about your clients through your individual and group coaching programs, if you choose, you can then create a self-paced online course for those who can’t afford – or don’t have time for – live coaching.
How do I increase my visibility online?
In the online world, marketing is essential for making yourself known and connecting with potential clients. Your marketing needs to let your ideal audience know you’re amazing at what you do and that you’re ready to help them get the results they want.
There are many marketing channels you can dive into, but don’t spread yourself thin across all the channels at once. Doing so is just a recipe for overwhelm, burn out, and poor results.
Instead, when you’re just starting out and you don’t have a team yet (or you just have one part-time virtual assistant), pick just two marketing channels and go all in. Your core online marketing channel should be building an email list, while your second channel can be your favorite social media platform, such as Instagram or a Facebook group.
The purpose of this strategy is to use social media to give your ideal clients an easy, accessible path to find and follow you. From there, they can sign up to join your email list.
Get started by consistently creating high-value content for free on the social platform of your choice. Then offer a freebie, such as a simple downloadable PDF or audio or a video coaching guide, in exchange for subscribing to your email list.
Why do coaches need a legally legit website?
Once you have all the above in place, take some time out of your schedule to create a simple website. You need to ensure your website is legally sound by having the following website policies on it:
A website disclaimer is where you disclaim liability — aka say that you can’t sue me! — for people’s use of your website or consumption of your content.
All 3 of these policies are a must for a legally legit website and, to make it super easy to cross this item off your list, you can get my downloadable legal templates for each of these website policies individually or purchase them in a website policy bundle.
What should you do after starting your coaching business?
Follow all the steps in this guide and your business will be off the ground before you know it! Just stay the course – all the hard work you’re putting in now will pay off in the future.
While you’re laying the foundation for your coaching business, watch my free legal workshop called “5 Steps to Legally Protect & Grow Your Online Business”. What you learn in this training will provide even more great nuggets to help you set your business up for success.