Thinking about starting your own big-hearted coaching business?
That’s awesome. And here’s why:
1. Coaching and mentoring others can be some of the most fulfilling work you’ll ever do
Supporting, encouraging, and guiding others in their own journey of personal growth and making things happen - whether you’re a health coach, life coach, creative coach, business coach, or something in-between - is incredible. Seeing clients push past fears, limiting self beliefs, negative mindsets, and habits that have held them back for years is an absolute privilege - a coaching business is way more than just a business, it’s a vocation too.
2. Building your own business means you can live your life completely on your own terms
You can set your own schedule. You can work wherever and however you want. You get to scale and grow your business on your own terms. The only ceiling on your earning potential is the one you set for yourself. You can take time off without asking permission from anyone else. You can build a career and a lifestyle that completely works for you.
3. Running a big-hearted coaching business means you can stay true to yourself and do crazy impactful work every step of the way
By putting a whole lot of heart into your business and prioritising your own core values, vision, and intentions above all else, you can build a truly impactful coaching practice that you can be proud and excited to run.
But no one said it was easy.
These are some of the things you may be worried about right now:
How will I attract and book clients?
A healthy and thriving coaching business has a consistent stream of clients coming in throughout the year. Before you even open up your doors for business, you may already be worrying about how you’re going to attract and book clients along the way. But the truth is, there are so many effective ways you can attract clients for your coaching practice - and none of them have to feel icky or salesy either. Word of mouth, referrals, showing up online and sharing your message, content marketing, networking, collaborations - the list is endless.
The more you show up, do good work, and make smart and intuitive decisions in your business, the more your business will thrive and grow along the way.
How should I structure my services and offerings?
Should I package up my services? Should I offer one-off sessions? Should I include email support? How about payment plans? Oh, and what the hell should I charge in the first place?
It’s easy to overthink this step - to forget that you can tweak, change, and update things whenever you want in your business. It’s also so easy to think you just have to offer the same services you’ve seen others in your industry offer, instead of leaning in to what makes you and your own coaching practice unique. Take the time to really figure out how you want to show up in your coaching practice, what it is you want to offer, and what it is your dream clients will be looking for too.
What if I’m not good enough? Am I arrogant for thinking I can be of service to others?
"Who the hell am I to think of being a coach? People are going to think I’m so arrogant. What if I completely let my clients down? What if I say the wrong thing? What if they don’t find our work together valuable? Why did I ever think this was something I could do?"
Sound familiar? These are the fears I had when I first got started too - and I can still battle with some of them from time to time, our fears never ever truly go away when self-doubt and imposter syndrome rear their ugly head so often.
Here’s the thing: if you feel like you have a calling, or a purpose, or work you are meant to do, and if you feel like that work is coaching others, you are not arrogant for being brave enough to try and do that work in the world. The reality is, there is no such thing as “good enough”. It’s our job to be of service to our clients, to show up 100% for each and every session, to nurture and improve our craft, to commit to being the best coach that we can be. It’s okay if you’re battling with these fears and self-doubts - it doesn’t mean you’re not capable of doing incredible work as a coach.
What if I burn out on client work?
There’s this huge fear for many creatives, especially online, that client work will ultimately lead to burn out. Especially for coaches and how much of ourselves we bring to our work, we can worry that the only way to make our business work is if we sacrifice some of our own wellbeing along the way.
What I’ve learned is this: you can build a coaching business that doesn’t leave you exhausted, stressed, and burnt out. Instead, your business can be exciting, fulfilling, and energising - and give you lots of space to be healthy, happy, and well rested too. You’ve just got to intentionally build the kind of business that really works for you.
All these fears? I’ve been there. When I started my coaching business, I honestly had no idea whether or not I’d book a single client, let alone if my business would be stable financially in the long run. I was afraid, I felt like a fraud, and I had absolutely no idea how to structure my business or routine to work best for me - there has definitely (and thankfully!) been a whole lot of lessons learned since then.
If you want to start your own big-hearted coaching business, here’s what I encourage you to do next:
1. Explore your business plan
I have a business plan exercise specifically for coaches over here. Work through that, start exploring the nitty-gritty details of your business, and start to really get to grips with the kind of business you want to start to bring to life.
2. Turn your business plan into action
It’s not enough to just have a plan, you also have to turn that plan into action. Get super focused - map out step-by-step how you’re going to start turning your plan into a reality. Give yourself a timeframe to keep you accountable, start working on all the nitty-gritty details behind the scenes, and keep moving forward even if fear, self-doubt, and overwhelm try to stop you in your tracks.
3. Don’t be afraid to start small
It’s okay to start small, to launch softly, to give yourself space to find your feet. By all means, go big if you want to - just make sure you do whatever works best for you. I personally started super small when I first launched my business - I priced quite low to give myself space to find my feet, my confidence as a coach, and build up word of mouth and awareness of my work too. Little by little I evolved my business and increased my prices to where it is today, but I’m personally so glad I started small as it gave me enough space to really figure things out as I went.
That doesn’t mean to say you have to low-ball your prices or limit yourself in your business - it just means that it’s a-okay to build your business little by little at a pace that works best for you.
4. Keep nurturing your craft
Try to not get so busy in all of the marketing and planning and client work that you forget to continue to nurture your craft - to invest in your own growth as a coach, to keep learning new skills and ideas and tools that will help you better serve your clients, and to carve out time for reflection and personal growth too.
5. Never forget to be brave
Building a big-hearted coaching business is going to challenge you along the way. It’s going to push your boundaries, it’s going to be scary at times and outside of your comfort zone, and it’s going to need you to show up every single day and be brave enough to make things happen as you go.
Don’t ever forget to be brave - brave enough to launch, brave enough to be fully present with your clients and truly lean into your strengths and gifts as a coach, brave enough to deal with any setbacks and challenges as they come, and brave enough to listen to your intuition every step of the way.
Starting a coaching business is one of the best decisions I have ever made - it may be challenging at times, but it’s also crazy fulfilling, joyful, and meaningful along the way too. If you feel a calling to be a coach too, if it’s the work you’re aching to do in the world, I hope this post today can be a jumping off point to help you get started in your journey.
Coaches, I’m rooting for you!
One last thing...
The Big-Hearted Coach
This blog post is the first in a 6-part series to coincide with the first launch of The Big-Hearted Coach, a 3 month 1:1 coaching program that’s here to help you feel confident, fulfilled, and stress-free in your coaching business. There are just 4 spots available and it starts in October 2016 - find out more this way.