We get it. You want to help people. You have been through the wringer, figured out how to master the art of life, and you want to share your strength with others. You know lives will be changed by what you have to offer. But wait. You need to make money, too!
If you want to make this a business more than a side-hustle or Mother Theresa style mission, you need to know how to write a life coaching business plan. Don’t panic; we will take you through the essential steps to get you started.
Many coaches are highly empathetic, likely right-brained (more creative than strategic) people. About 25% of coaches succeed in making this a full-time sustainable business. And they do that because they are prepared, have a plan, and can execute on a well thought out strategy.
How to start a life coaching business plan from scratch
Haven’t written a business plan before? Fear not. If you have the passion for what you are doing, answering some simple questions that you likely have answers to will help formulate this plan.
You will most certainly answer the five key questions. What, Who, How, Where, and Why.
So, pull out whatever brainstorming, list-making, or organizational tool you prefer, and let’s get started.
Why you need a life coaching business plan
Before we get into this article’s action steps, we want you to understand why creating a life-coaching business plan is so important.
It is essential because you can’t go where you want to go if you don’t have the vision and the plan to get there. Every successful business starts with a vision.
Let’s think of it this way. If you were planning a road trip that you have been dreaming about for a long time, you would pick a destination. Then, you would design a route to get there. Attractions you would like to stop along the way would also likely be planned. And of course, you need to factor in gas, expenses, lodging, all of those things. Your life-coaching business plan should be treated the same way.
You have the vision. Now let’s plan the destination and how you are going to get there.
The business of life-coaching
We started our business because we had a passion we wanted to share with others. Coaches are a perfect example of that. But you are also an entrepreneur and putting on that business cap is needed and necessary to have a successful coaching business.
If you have never written a business plan before, it can be quite intimidating. Understanding that it is but a mere tool for your future growth makes it a bit more appealing. And we are here to make it not only useful, but easier for you to do.
Write your mission statement
You know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and who you want to reach. You’ll also need to consider what type of coach you’d like to be. More importantly, you see the change you wish to bring about by coaching. So, please write it down. Keep it short and sweet. Your life coaching mission statement can also be known as your 30-second elevator pitch.
Here is an example: I am providing a transformation shift (what) for individuals ready for more positive direction in their lives (who). I am doing that through one-on-one premium sessions, focus groups, and mindfulness workshops (what). Through actively engaging in social forums, networking, and sharing with others (how), I will build a following and attract the clients that need what I have to offer.
Simple, right? Now, it’s your turn.
Defining your target market
This piece of your plan is crucial. If you don’t know who your target market is, you will have difficulty finding clients. So, define them down to their type of coffee and breakfast they like to have each morning.
Answer the following questions:
- Who are they?
- What are their needs?
- Where do they hang out?
- What content are they consuming?
- How old are they?
- Where are they financially?
- And the most important question…what are their pain points?
Create your life coaching business tagline
Creating your tagline for your life-coaching business should be fun. It tells people who you are and what you do. It shouldn’t be too long or too short. Your tagline is your opportunity to shine. So, be creative, and hold nothing back. Don’t be afraid to tell the world who you are.
Some tagline creating tips to remember:
- Choose clarity over creativity. This tag line must be clear and deliver to the client what you do.
- Positioning yourself as an expert can be done here, so don’t be shy or afraid to be confident in your gifts.
- Test your tagline. This is a part of market research that is crucial. Ask for feedback from friends and, more importantly, non-friends that will tell you the truth.
Make a financial plan.
No, sorry. You cannot skip this part. If you plan on making money, and I hope you do, you will need a financial plan or model. When people pay you, what happens with that money? Do you keep it in the business and spend it on marketing? Do you pocket every dime because you have a massive following and don’t need marketing dollars?
What are you keeping out for taxes? Yes, you do have to pay those.
Having a solid plan defining how you will handle and reinvest the money you make to grow your business is essential to your life coaching business plan.
Formulate a marketing strategy
In a perfect world, you would build it, and they would come. But that world is an illusion! The reality is we live in a highly competitive, somewhat oversaturated industry when it comes to life coaching. Your marketing strategy must be killer. What I mean by that is that you have a plan to reach your audience, win their hearts, and a strategy for closing those clients.
List your competitors
Competitive analysis is not reserved for consumer products and tech-based companies. In an industry as massive and lucrative as coaching, competition is everywhere. Often, life coaches are competing for the same clients. You can’t set yourself apart if you don’t know with what and whom you are competing. Again, let’s visit the key questions.
- Who are your competitors?
- What are they doing that is working?
- Where are they advertising?
- How are they attracting clients?
- What sets them apart from the rest?
- What techniques are they using to close the sale?
And the most important question you can ask yourself… is HOW can I do it better!
Commit to a timeline to complete the plan
We rarely find a life coach that gets up every day and says, “I can’t wait to finish this business plan.” Can you relate? We have illustrated, however, how incredibly important having this business tool is. Life coaches are not using this tool to pitch investors or acquire bank loans. You will be using this as a road map to your life coaching business success. It literally could be a make it or break it type of situation.
So, get to it! Paperbell is here to support you in your business, and this is just one more part of it. It should not take you any longer than two-three days to complete this plan. Set a timeline that you can commit to. Make it a priority and follow through with your goal.
Imagine how much better you will feel with a plan you can execute. You won’t be flying blind. That is a horrible way to start a business.
Your Life coaching business plan template
Lastly, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to get this plan done and move onto growing your business. So we have laid out a handy step by step template that you can follow to write your plan. Follow me, won’t you?
Business Name and Tag Line
Make sure you make your business name shine and tell people concisely who you are and what you will do for them. If you need a little bit of inspiration, you can find some here.
Your mission statement may change from time to time, but it should be a constant reminder of why you get up every morning and make life coaching your business.
Write this last. It should summarize all of the following sections in a paragraph by paragraph format. The executive summary is where your entire business will be easily explained and digested. This benefits both you and the people with whom you share your plan.
List up to five of your biggest competitors. What are their strengths, weaknesses, and how do you plan to out-compete! You don’t have to go into too much detail here; keep it brief. What is important is that you put it in your plan. Hubspot has a great how-to guide on doing your own competitive analysis.
Your competition has holes, and you likely will too. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. No one can be great at everything, trust me, we have tried. But the fact is we all have positive and negative traits. Understanding those and working with them is a big part of running a successful life coaching business. Tackling this head-on before commencing business will save you a lot of heartaches, financial loss, and grey hair. Learn how to do your own SWOT analysis here.
To reiterate, if you don’t know who your customers are, how can you find them? This is not an area to skimp. Be as detailed as possible. Refer back to the section above to revisit the crucial questions to answer. Paint a picture of your client, and you will have an easier time finding the ones that are looking for you!
How. How are you going to do this? Where will you find your clients? What collateral will you need to do so? Lay it out in detail and refer to it often. This is a working document, and it will change as you learn and grow.
Since you are not looking for capital, projections are not as important. But it would help if you closed your plan with a prediction of the financial goals you would like to reach. If nothing else, your budget should be a part of this plan. Make sure to review our article about what to discuss with your bookkeeper as well!
Hopefully, this has helped you move forward into the business planning phase for your life coaching business. At Paperbell, we are here to support you in all things coaching. Please feel free to use our resources to build, launch, and grow your dream life coaching business. You can do it!