The Ultimate Guide to Setting Up a Coaching Business

Categorized as Coaching Business
FEATURED The Ultimate Guide to Setting Up a Coaching Business

Are you looking to become a coach and wondering if you can create a successful business around it? Or wondering how you go about setting up a coaching business in the first place? If that’s you, welcome! You’re in the right place.

Today, we’re going to look at everything you need to do to set up a coaching business, including the official processes you need to complete (such as registering your business and setting up a business bank account).

But first, we want to introduce ourselves! We’re Cass and Tee, the duo behind this blog, and our company, Lovely Impact. We’re web designers turned coaches, and we love everything about this industry, including helping new coaches start and launch their coaching businesses.

Below you’ll find all the information you need to get started so that you know what to do and how to do it.

Let’s begin!

Setting Up a Coaching Business: 8 Important Things You Need To Do

1. Decide Your Coaching Business Structure

This is something that you must do before you can register your business, and it’s crucial to get it right. It affects how your coaching business operates and even things like how much you will pay in taxes, so don’t neglect it. Changing it later is possible, but can be complicated.

Common structures include business partnerships, limited liability companies, and sole proprietorship. You can also register as a Corporation, with multiple sub-options, such as C Corp, B Corp, Cooperative, or Nonprofit.

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Decide Your Coaching Business Structure

Source: SBA.gov

Make sure you research each type of business structure to help you decide which one is right for you. When setting up a coaching business, it’s important to know what risks and advantages each one may have.

➡️ Need more help? Click here for SBA guidance >>

2. Create a Coaching Business Name

Another important factor when setting up a coaching business? Your business name. It should be evocative, pleasing to the ear, simple, and authentically representative of your business.

A business name also must be easy to say, spell, and remember, and it needs to feel right to you. You should see how it looks when written down, and see how it sounds when spoken. Take the time to get this right, it’s always worth it in the long run!

Once you have decided on a name, you will need to register it. This will ensure your business is protected. You will need to register an entity name, a trademark, a DBA (doing business as), and a domain name (if you intend to have a website).

➡️ Need more help? 

3. Register Your Business

When setting up a coaching business, most coaches simply need to register their business name with their state and any local government bodies. In addition to getting a federal tax ID, you may want to register for federal trademark protection if you have materials to protect.

You may need a registered agent (a designated individual who will receive legal and other documents on behalf of your business), but keep in mind that many coaches will not need to do this. 

When you operate your business under your legal name (meaning you are effectively your own business), you may not be required to register, but doing so could still be advantageous tax-wise.

➡️ Need more help? Click here for SBA guidance >>

4. Apply for an EIN

Most businesses will need to apply for an EIN, an Employer Identification Number. You can do this for free through the Internal Revenue Service, and an EIN will be generated for you immediately.

Apply for an EIN - Setting Up a Coaching Business

You will need to give your name and Taxpayer Identification Number, and you will be registered as the “responsible party” who manages the business. You must do this as an individual, and not as an entity.

Once you have your EIN, you can move on to the next step of setting up a coaching business.

➡️ Need more help? Click Here for IRS Requirements >>

5. Purchase Your Coaching Domain

To have any online presence, you will need a coaching domain. You can buy this from GoDaddy or Namecheap, and it’s the address that will appear in the URL bar when clients are using your site.

Best Place To Purchase Your Coaching Domain - NameCheap

You can buy a domain even if you don’t intend to use it, right away or ever. You may wish to buy your own name and the name of your business, even if you only want to use one of these, just so they are in your ownership. You can also set it up so that one redirects to the other, ensuring clients can find you whether they try your business name or your real name.

➡️ Need more help? Click here for our recommendations on buying a coaching domain >>

6. Get Certified

Becoming a certified coach is key to giving yourself credibility, so you need to do this before you start coaching. You can get coaching certifications from Udemy, and this is generally very affordable.

You are better able to gain client trust by proving that you have successfully completed courses in coaching, and you also guarantee you have the basics of coaching under your belt before you start coaching. 

We truly believe that getting certified is a best practice before setting up a coaching business! You may even want to pursue more certifications after you’ve gained your first one. No matter how much you know, you can always learn more!

➡️ Need more help? Click here for our favorite affordable coaching programs >>

7. Open a Business Bank Account

Business bank accounts are important because they help you to keep your spending and your business’s spending separate. When you’re operating a solo business, the line between these two areas tends to blur, so keeping them separate is beneficial.

Perks of opening a business bank account:

  • It makes taxes easier and ensures you are complying with regulations. 
  • You will also enjoy certain protections that personal accounts don’t have. 
  • You will start building some credit history for your business.
  • Furthermore, a business bank account makes you look more professional, as clients can pay for your business, rather than you.

Don’t procrastinate this step too long, you can open a business bank account as soon as you have your EIN. If you are just getting started, we recommend Bonsai Banking

Bonsai Banking

Bonsai offers a checking account for self-employed and small businesses that you can open in just minutes. No admin headache, no bank appointments. Bonsai online banking allows you to automate your budget by creating envelopes, categorize and tracking all your expenses, and they even offer virtual and physical payment cards!

➡️ Need more help? Click here for SBA guidance >>

8. Get a Coaching Contract

A coaching contract is essential to set up a coaching business. It provides legal protection to you and to your clients and ensures that everyone is on the same page before you start coaching.

Take the time to read over other contracts and think about what you want to include. One of our favorite places to get contract templates from is The Contract Shop. Designed for coaches from all backgrounds, it’s meant to help those who experience difficulties creating a solid, legal coaching agreement.

Get a Coaching Contract - Setting Up a Coaching Business

It’s important to never just copy and paste a contract you have seen online. You need to purchase a legal template or hire a lawyer because you are trying to create a legally enforceable document.

In addition to looking professional, a contract provides legal protection by outlining the responsibilities of both parties. Don’t neglect it.

Additionally, you can use Bonsai’s free, customizable, and legal-vetted coaching contract template. Bonsai is an all-in-one coaching platform and they offer hundreds of free templates suited to a variety of needs: contracts, agreements, client forms, invoices, proposals, and more.

Bonsai Coaching Contract Templates

We know legal is expensive, but it’s also really important. The folks over at Practice also realize that most coaching businesses probably can’t afford a lawyer right away, so they worked with their US and Canadian lawyers to draft up free coaching contract templates that anyone can download and use. 

Coaching agreement Practice

A coaching logo is also an important part of setting up a coaching business, and it should be created before you start marketing. Think about colors and aesthetics before you begin. Are you going to include your name or just an image? What mood do you want to convey?

To get this established, you may find it helps to create a mood board, and you might even want to purchase a logo template to ensure you hit the right note. These are customizable and usually very easy to work with. They are a great idea if the attractive design isn’t your strong point.

Create a Coaching Logo - Setting Up a Coaching Business

➡️ Need more help? Check out our Canva coaching logo templates here >>

10. Build Your Coaching Website

You need a coaching website, but keep in mind it won’t be just a standard website. Your site will have to do quite a few things to ensure success, including:

  • Allow clients to log in
  • Provide sales pages that clients can access
  • Provide booking pages for current clients to schedule sessions
  • Provide content, including blogs and video content
Build Your Coaching Website - Setting Up a Coaching Business

Your site might contain podcasts, other purchase options, and information about you. Your site will be the face of your brand, so don’t rush it.

To get the ball rolling here, start envisioning the color palette and the aesthetic of your future website site, as well as the practical purposes it will serve. 

➡️ Need more help? 

11. Get Insured

Running a coaching business involves risks, but having proper insurance coverage mitigates those risks and keeps your business secure. Protect your passion, your clients, and your future with StartSure. They make insurance easy for coaching businesses while offering comprehensive, custom-tailored policies to meet your needs. 

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. 

Final Thoughts – Setting Up A Coaching Business

When setting up a coaching business, it’s important to do things in the right order, or you may end up in a mess. Even though it might seem like a lot of work, it will ensure success for your platform and prevent issues further down the line.

If you fail to do this, you’ll quickly find that you’re lacking something you need, so don’t skip the steps. You shouldn’t start building your website until you’ve registered your business or obtained your coaching certification, otherwise, you’ll end up going around in circles.

If you’ve already built your coaching business, let us know what you did and how it worked out for you. If you’re planning to get started soon, tell us about it in the comments below!

About The Author

Hey! I’m Cass, a brand coach and the Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer at Lovely Impact, a website template shop for coaches. I help coaches elevate their businesses with beautiful branding and websites. Here on our blog, my content focuses on branding, web design, and storytelling.

Hey! I’m Tee, a brand and marketing coach and the Co-Founder & CMO at Lovely Impact, a website template shop for coaches. I help coaches grow their coaching businesses digitally. Here on our blog, my content focuses on web design, marketing, business, and social media strategy.

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