Are you thinking about starting your own career coaching business? If so, you’re in the right place!
A career coaching business can be a great way to help people achieve their professional goals and upgrade their communication skills while going through a career shift. But before you get started with building your biz, there are a few things you need to have in order to ensure your future success.
Before we go further, hey, we’re Cass + Tee! We are business partners and the creators behind this blog. Coaching is our passion, and we love putting together resources to help coaches, like you, thrive in your coaching business.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to start a career coaching business, from setting up your finances and marketing your services, to finding clients and building your brand.
Ready to dive in? Read on and discover how you can turn your passion for career coaching into a successful business venture.
What is a Career Coach?
Before we look at how to start a career coaching business, let’s pin down exactly what a career coach is! Career coaching is one of the less well-known kinds of coaching, but it’s also highly valuable for those who need guidance.
A career coach’s job is to work out what makes their clients feel unfulfilled about their professional lives, and how they can start taking steps to change that. As a career coach, you’ll be looking for ways to identify what gives your client a sense of satisfaction, and how you can guide them in this direction.
Career coaches will work with a whole range of clients. A lot of people think you need career coaching when you’re just starting out, but many people with long-established careers find themselves wanting to make changes. Often, they have less idea about what they want to do than those just beginning!
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A career coach usually has a good intuition and a sense of how skills can be transferred. They are often skilled in crafting resumes and know how to use networking and marketing to appeal to potential employers. They can help clients overcome gaps in their skills and experience.
How much do Career Coaches Make?
It will depend on whether you work with an organization or individual, but often, career coaches can make between $30,000 and $60,000. Some sources state that the national average salary is around $46,000, while others suggest higher earnings.
Overall, the amount you can make will depend on your area and your skills, but in some cases, you could be charging around $25 per hour, or a little more or less.
You will need to adjust your expectations to the area you are working in and whether you plan to work alone or with an organization, as this will make a difference in how much you can earn. Your location will make a pretty big difference too, but be aware that career coaches don’t often earn as much as some other coaches.
However, if you’re truly good at helping people to find their calling in life and manage the trajectory of their careers, this could still be the ideal profession for you.
How to Start a Career Coaching Business
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to start a successful career coaching business:
Step 1: Become a Certified Career Coach
So, let’s begin looking at exactly where to start a career coaching business. A great place to begin is by getting yourself certified. By completing a course like the Career Coaching Certification, you will lay the foundation for becoming a great career coach.
During this course, you will learn both online and in-person coaching, develop some essential coaching skills, and access 17 ready-to-use sessions that you can use as soon as you begin coaching.
If you need some groundwork to turn your natural affinity into a valuable coaching skill, this will help you.
It will also demonstrate to potential clients that you have what it takes and you’ve trained in how best to help them. This is an excellent way to build trust in your early career, when you may not be able to rely on reviews or word of mouth.
Step 2: Choose Your Career Coach Business Name
Before you start coaching, you’re going to need a great name that lets clients know who you are and what you do – and coming up with one can be a real challenge. You may find that it helps to start by thinking about what problem you solve and how you help your clients.
This process may trigger some ideas about what to call your business, and you can also think about the atmosphere and ambiance that you want your business’s name to convey. Often, you’ll want to appear friendly and business-like – so consider additional terms that evoke this imagery for you.
Think too about whether your clients are likely to respond to slang, formal language, or the cute factor because this will make a big difference as well.
You also need to make sure that the name is unique so that you stand out from other businesses, and check that it both sounds good and looks good. It’s okay to spend some time thinking about your business’s name because it’s going to represent you for a long time!
➡️ Looking for more inspiration? Check this out:
- Step By Step Guide: How To Choose A Coaching Business Name >>
- Read stories about how coaches named their businesses >>
Step 3: Choose A Niche
When you’re thinking about how to start a career coaching business, your niche is important to recognize. You might already be aware of just how much nuance matters in business, and making sure you are serving the right clients for you is essential to your success.
You should choose your niche by thinking about exactly who you want to work with, and what you want to do with them. Take some time to think about the following questions:
- Who do you help?
- How do you help them?
- Where are they?
- What industries do you know best?
- What transformations are you creating with your clients?
You don’t need to draw up a full client profile at this point, but having a sense of who you are specifically serving will help you to narrow down your niche. Are you going to help older clients that are looking to transition from one industry to another, or are you specifically focusing on those just starting their careers?
Understanding this will give you clarity on a number of things, so it’s important to do so early on in the process. This will guide the other decisions you make, so don’t move forward until you have done it.
➡️ Need more help? Check out our guides:
- How to choose a niche for your coaching business >>
- Freebie: Choosing Your Niche Workbook in our resource library >>
- Watch: How To Identify Your Dream Clients (And Choose A Niche) >>
Step 4: Create A Business Plan
Just as your clients will need to plan their lives, you need to plan your business and ensure that you take an organized, structured approach. Fortunately, this can be easy if you follow a few simple steps.
You should start by making a mission statement — this explores what value you are bringing to your clients and sets a powerful foundation for the “why” behind your coaching business.
Next, create an executive summary of your business and its purpose, followed by a list of the services you might provide. You can tie this in with defining your target audience and building a client profile that indicates who precisely you are there to help, and what they need from you.
Your business plan should also look at how you will acquire clients, and explore what your competitive advantage is, plus your passion for your business and why it makes you “tick.”
Wrap up by briefly covering the financial side of things (what will you have to put into the business and what will you get back), and then write some goals to keep your business moving forward.
The good news is that we have a free mini business plan template for coaches that you can download HERE. The mini-coaching business plan is available in the business resources section after you register.
Step 5: Develop Your Methodology, Techniques & Tools
What’s the next part of how to start a career coaching business? It’s identifying the tools and methods you are going to use. Before you begin coaching, you will find you need to define the specific method you plan to coach with.
How are you going to get your clients from point A to B? Defining where you are going to get them and then working backward from there can be a good way to figure this out, and once you’ve gotten a grasp of your preferred methodology, you can focus on the individual tools.
You might already have great ideas for worksheets that you can give to your clients to encourage them to identify what they want in life, but you’ll also need to work on some techniques that will help to get them into the right space for coaching.
All coaches will use different tools and techniques, but you should get some good basics from the course mentioned earlier, which will get you off to a great start with your first career coaching clients.
Step 6: Create Offers and Pricing
You might find it pretty hard to work out what to charge as a career coach, but this is as important as any other step. If you are struggling, you may want to look at what other coaches are charging, but you can also build some packages that may help you experiment to figure out a pricing strategy.
There are many packages that you can offer, although a lot of your coaching may be one on one. That doesn’t mean you can’t offer month-to-month coaching, seminars, full-day sessions, half-day sessions, and workshops for people who want to know more about how career changes work and how they can identify the right career for them.
You can then start to build a pricing strategy around the packages that you want to provide. The longer the session, the more expensive you’ll need to make it. You should also charge more for sessions that you only run occasionally, such as yearly masterminds, because these will be more exclusive.
Step 7: Design Your Career Coach Logo
Next up is the logo, and the design process can be a challenge. Many career coaches want to create something that signifies growth or transition, but you can go more abstract if you choose to.
Take some time to think about what you want your clients to think and feel when they first see your logo. This is often where your relationship with them will start.
Your logo needs to do a lot of things at once, and usually, you’re looking for it to evoke emotions and create a connection. Color will be important – a few logos look great in black and white – but you shouldn’t go overboard. A maximum of six colors should be plenty.
If your logo has any words incorporated in it, make sure that they are clear and readable, so clients aren’t squinting. You should also make sure that your logo still looks good if it’s shrunk to fit a header or to allow more room for text.
Here’s an example of one of our logo templates that is especially popular with career coaches, Callie. It has a successful and modern design and a leadership vibe to help attract your ideal clientele.
The best part? It’s made with an easily editable Canva template — meaning you can make it your own in a matter of minutes. No joke!
Step 8: Create Your Career Coach Website
So, the next aspect of how to start a career coaching business is the website. Remember, this will frequently be the first experience the client has with you – so it needs to be a smooth experience. Take the time to design it well; a disorganized website is not going to make people trust you with their careers!
You should design your website from the perspective of a potential client. Think about what information they are going to expect to see first, and try to make this easy to find. It may help to create a site map of all the important elements so you can put them together logically.
Once you have done this, consider how to organize any blog content you may have. You should make some overall categories that reflect the different major topics you write on and use these to make it easy to navigate through all of your content.
Get Your Website Built With Ease
Want to get your career coaching website up & running without having to create it from scratch? We’ve got you covered.
Callie is one of our most successful website templates for career coaches! Click below to learn how you can use this to easily build your career coaching website:
The most important point here is to make sure that your website is also a reflection of your brand and looks cohesive. Different pages shouldn’t have different themes, colors, and fonts — you want to present a united image to give your best first impression!
➡️ Want to know more? Check out these resources:
- How To Structure A Coaching Website >>
- The DIY Beginners Guide to Websites >>
- How to build your website quickly & effectively >>
Step 9: Go Legal
There’s not a whole lot left to do, but the legal aspects are vital and you can’t overlook them. There are quite a few little tasks you need to take care of before you can open to clients, and it’s important not to skip these steps.
One of the very first things you’ll need to do is work out what business structure you are going to use in terms of taxes, and make sure you’ve got a business bank account so that you can keep your finances organized.
Register your business with your state to make things official (you definitely need to have completed the “choose a name” step first).
Next, decide on your tax year, and check whether you need a license or permit to operate in your area. If you do, apply and get the paperwork taken care of.
You may not need an Employer Identification Number, but if you do, you should take this opportunity to get one.
As coaches, we invest our time and energy into empowering others, helping them reach their goals. But have you thought about protecting your own business and hard work? That’s where business insurance steps in!
Insurance for coaching business owners is a policy you will pay for on a monthly or yearly basis which covers you for accidents and problems that could arise with your clients when you are coaching.
For coaches who value simplicity and straightforwardness, StartSure is a great option. They are committed to keeping insurance simple and offer comprehensive, easy-to-understand policies that coaches can make use of.
One of the challenges of getting insurance for coaching business owners is understanding how a policy actually protects you. StartSure combines expertise with technology to simplify how you get the custom-tailored coverage that you need.
Backed by Arch Insurance, StartSure offers mobile-friendly insurance options, so you have everything you need at your fingertips, and their range of policies makes them suitable for coaches in all the different niches.
Step 10: Create Your Coaching Contract
Step 10 of how to start a career coaching business involves a really critical piece of paper: your coaching contract. This is something you are going to be using with every client you take on, and you can’t start your business without it.
Your contract needs to cover a few key areas, including:
- A limit of liability clause
- A clause about your intellectual property
- A clause relating to payments and late fees
- A disclaimer and release clause
- A confidentiality clause
All of these things help to protect both you and your clients and ensure that your expectations align. Your contract should be legally binding so that if a client is unhappy, it limits how much trouble you could be in (provided you have upheld your parts of the contract).
You can get a contract by purchasing a legal template from a reputable website, or by getting a lawyer to help you create one. Don’t use free templates because you won’t be able to verify that they are legally binding. This is particularly true if you need to edit them to make them work for your business.
Legal matters are often overlooked but hold significant importance. In situations where hiring a lawyer may not be feasible, Practice offers a solution with their lawyer-crafted coaching contracts, which can be downloaded for free. These contracts include versions suitable for both US and Canadian contexts, along with sample contracts provided by experienced coaches.
➡️ Want to get this part right? See these resources:
Step 11: Get Your First Career Coaching Client
Next up is attracting your first client, and you might be wondering how you can do this without sinking large sums of money into advertising. The great news is that there are a few options.
Firstly, reach out to your network and see if any of them are looking for career advice, or if they know anyone who is.
You might also want to try guest blogging to get your name out there. If you can find an established careers website that offers solid advice, you could write additional content for them to help their clients. This is a great way to encourage people to recognize your brand and click through to your own site to find out more.
Alternatively, see if you can partner with another coach or a business that offers a complimentary service. If you’re local to a university and you’re interested in helping those just starting their careers, could you assist the students or run a few free sessions or lectures to get your name out there?
This is a great option and it will give clients a taste of your service – making them more likely to buy.
How To Get Coaching Clients On LinkedIn
Where are most people who are looking to evolve their careers hanging out online? LinkedIn, of course! This is an amazing platform to share your expertise and make powerful connections for your career coaching business.
We’ve rounded up 25 tips that you can use immediately to start building more connections and increasing your leads. Read them here: ‘How To Get Coaching Clients On LinkedIn’ >>
Be sure to bookmark this guide on how to find coaching clients on Linkedin, that way you can reference it whenever you need it.
Step 12: Grow Your Career Coaching Business
Once you’re underway with your initial clients, the next step of how to start a career coaching business is growth. You don’t want to just help a handful of people. You want to expand, and for that, you’ll need a sales and marketing strategy.
Spend a bit of time refining your ideal client profile before you start, and identify where your clients tend to be most active. There are a few questions you can research to get you further here:
- Is social media the place to target, or would you get further with physical fliers?
- Would some great SEO bring traffic to your site?
- Do you need to create consistent content?
Whatever strategies you choose, make sure you monitor their effectiveness over time. If you need to drop or pivot a strategy, do so – and remember, if your business is growing fast, hiring can be the best way to sustain that growth. You might benefit from an administrative assistant, or from some automated coaching tools that will handle the repetitive tasks for you.
➡️ Need more help? Grab our FREE Marketing Research Plan from our resource library >>
Final Thoughts – Becoming A Career Coach
If you’re passionate about helping people find their dream job and are looking for a business opportunity that can be started on a shoestring budget, starting your own career coaching business is perfect for you.
In this article, we’ve outlined the basics of how to start a career coaching business and exactly what you need to get started, from setting up your business structure to creating a marketing strategy. We also shared some tips on how to find clients and keep them coming back for more advice.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to apply your knowledge and get to planning! Do you have any questions about starting or running your own career coaching business? Leave us a comment below – we’d love to help!