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 coach 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 coach business plan from scratch
Haven’t written a business plan for life coaching 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 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 at 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 decided on the coaching industry because you have the vision. You want to have a positive impact on people’s lives and do work that fulfills you on a daily basis. Now let’s plan the destination and how you are going to get there with a solid business plan.
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 plan makes it a bit more appealing. And we are here to make it not only useful but easier for you to do.
6 Steps to start writing your plan
1. Think about your mission
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 life 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 a life coach business plan sample statement: I am providing a transformational shift (what) for individuals ready for a 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 coaching clients that need what I have to offer.
Simple, right? Now, it’s your turn.
2. Define 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 your target audience down to the type of coffee and breakfast they like to have each morning.
To find out who you want as the ideal clients for your coaching business, try to 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?
The best way to find the answers to these questions is to talk to people who are your ideal customers. That doesn’t mean asking your friends if they would like your coaching style, it means getting out there and speaking to the people who you think could benefit from your service.
Where will you find these ideal customers? Ask on social media platforms and in online communities or forums you’re part of if anyone has a few minutes they can spare to help you with some business research.
Once you have a few participants lined up, deep dive into questions with them to find out who their ideal coach is and what they’re looking for in a life coach. How many coaching sessions would they be interested in? How would they like to take those sessions, for example, in person or would they prefer an online coaching business?
Getting these insights into your potential clients’ needs before you start your marketing will help you build a product that people actually want. Ever heard of the concept of product-market fit? It means building a product that satisfies market demand. This is exactly what you need if you want to build a successful life coach business for the long term.
If you want to boost your chances of success when you’re starting out, build something people actually want, not what you think they want. Create your coaching packages using evidence from your customer interviews, that way, you can back up what you’re doing with real-world needs.
3. Create your life coaching business tagline
Once you know who your clients are and what they want from your services, it’s time to get creative and think about the messaging you want to put out there about your coaching business.
Creating a tagline for your 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 and why they should choose you.
Some tagline-creating tips to remember:
- Choose clarity over creativity. This tagline must be clear in telling 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 others, more importantly, non-friends that will tell you the truth.
Don’t stress if you can’t get your tagline perfect from the start, you can always reiterate as your business and confidence grow. As long as you have something to start out with that can communicate your mission and who you are, you’re good to go. A strong tagline will help you position yourself in the market and be an invaluable tool for your marketing efforts.
Here are some ideas for taglines that work well for life coaching services:
- Getting you unstuck
- You’ve got this
- Master your goals
- Change is inevitable
- Celebrate you
- Small steps reap huge rewards
- Get more from life
- Grab your potential
4. 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 for your business.
Think about your financial model, how much will you charge clients for a session? Will they need to book blocks or coaching packages so you can get a more predictable income?
Most importantly, how many clients will you need to work with per week for you to earn your ideal income? Write down a number of what you aim to work per week/per month, then work backward from there.
For your business to be financially sustainable, how much will you need to charge each customer? These financial projections are the most important part of your business plan! Without an idea of how you will make money, you won’t have a business.
When people pay you, what happens with that money? How will you keep track of your cash flow statements? 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 business plan.
5. 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, coaching businesses are highly competitive, and it’s a somewhat oversaturated industry. Now you have a sales strategy, you need to figure out how you’re going to make those sales.
Your marketing strategies 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 paying clients.
Do some market analysis
To know what you’re working with and gain a competitive advantage, you need to know what else is happening in the market.
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 compete 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!
Think about your unique selling point, ways you can reach clients, and how you can stand out from the crowd.
- Will you create an incredible free resource as a lead magnet for your email marketing campaigns?
- Will you offer a free webinar or free sessions to get leads and share your knowledge?
- Will you use search engine optimization and a weekly blog post to get clients to find you?
- Will you make killer social media content to attract an audience?
- Are online courses part of your marketing strategy to attract one on one coaching clients?
- Maybe in-person events and speaking is your preferred form of marketing, and you want to meet potential clients in real life.
However you decide to get your message in front of potential customers, you need to set SMART goals to execute your plan. That means your business goals are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic.
For example, you may have the goal that you want to build an email list so you can start helping people with weekly advice. You can’t conjure a list from thin air, so you will need to create a strategy for HOW you can get people to sign up for your list.
So your SMART goal would look like this:
Specific: Get people signed up for your email list
Measurable: You want 50 new subscribers this month
Achievable : You will achieve this by running paid adverts on social media
Realistic: 50 new subscribers is a realistic number, if you overinflate your goals, you will end up disappointing yourself.
The key to a successful marketing plan is to make it digestible and break it into chunks. Small tasks that you can achieve step-by-step are much more achievable than one big lofty goal.
6. 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 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 coach business plan template
Lastly, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to create a simple coaching business plan, and move on to growing your business.
Here’s a handy step-by-step life coach business plan example that you can follow to get started.
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 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, and 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!
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!
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.
The hardest part is getting started
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! Just get started with writing your life coach business plan by using our template.