A Guide to Starting an Online Coaching Business

FT Contributor  | 

Your skills, experiences, and knowledge not only hold value in your life and future but may also be used to help other people who are struggling. If you feel you have solid real-world advice you can eloquently relay to those who need it, an online coaching business may be a good profession to explore.

According to Market Research, personal coaching is a $9.9 billion industry in the U.S. The International Coach Federation reported that there were about 17,500 registered personal coaches in the U.S. in 2018 and demand for online personal coaching services continues to grow.

While it may seem simple to start an online business that focuses on coaching people, there are many factors to consider in order to be successful. This guide will help you delve into the obstacles you could face when launching your online coaching business so you can focus on using your expertise to help people as a profitable career.

Requirements to Start an Online Coaching Business

Small business owners harness the power of mobile technology to launch and grow their businesses every day. While coaching clients online may seem like an inexpensive way to break into the industry, there are some costs to consider before starting your small business. Your website will likely be the most important marketing tool and resource for potential and current clients. Consider the costs to obtain your domain name and maintain a functioning site before launching your business.

Since you’ll be interacting with your clients entirely online, you may need to provide virtual workshops and coaching. Review the content you’ll need to create, such as instructional videos, worksheets, and other educational materials. You may need a production crew and video equipment to create professional content for paying clients.

Your marketing strategy is also key to your online coaching business’s success. Before launching your business, think about your marketing plan, your strategies for advertising your services, and the costs associated with these tasks.

How to Create an Online Coaching Business Plan

Just as every e-commerce store needs a business plan, every online coaching business also needs a solid plan. When creating a small business plan for your online coaching endeavor, include the following:

  • Company overview: This section of your business plan defines the type of business you’re launching and your niche. Include your business’s mission, values, and objectives, as well as your long-term goals.
  • Market analysis: Once you’ve identified your niche, conduct market research in the field to determine your target audience. This allows you to pinpoint the scope of your audience and an overview of your potential competitors.
  • Financial plan and projections: Your initial investment, profit expectations, and potential loss projections are a crucial part of your business plan.

When it comes to your business’s finances, computerized accounting is more efficient than traditional accounting because it automatically records your transactions.

Before manually trying to create a financial plan, consider implementing accounting software that syncs with your bank accounts to ensure you maintain accurate bookkeeping. Many small businesses rely on Quickbooks because it provides visual aids that help you figure out if you’re on track to reach your financial goals at a glance.

Registering Your New Online Coaching Business

When registering your online coaching business, you may need to choose between a sole proprietorship and a limited liability company (LLC). With a sole proprietorship,  your business and personal finances, taxes, and liabilities merge as one.

However, if you choose an LLC, you’re required to file your business and personal taxes separately. Consult with a legal professional before deciding which type of business is the most beneficial for your finances.

You must have a unique business name to register your coaching business so it’s crucial to ensure the name you choose isn’t already in use. As you brainstorm a name, browse online or check your county clerk records to ensure the name you choose isn’t taken.

Even if it’s available, you should also check that the domain name you desire isn’t already claimed. A matching business and domain name makes it easier to market your business.

Tips to Establishing Yourself as an Expert in Your Niche

Since the online coaching business is a popular industry, finding your niche is crucial for success. Identify your strengths and experience, as well as the type of customer you want to target when determining your niche.

Your unique selling proposition (USP) defines how you’re different from other competitors, even within your niche. Consider how your competitors provide online coaching and market their businesses when deciding on your own USP.

Once you know your niche and USP, it’s easier to market your business and target potential clients. Nurturing your relationships with current and past clients is another crucial component for growth. You’re more likely to receive referrals and repeat business from clients if you remain in contact with them after your initial coaching services are complete.

Online Coaching Software and Tools

Creating an online coaching platform from scratch is complicated and time consuming. However, there are software solutions and tools that can help you create a thriving platform for your online coaching business that’s easy to use and keeps you organized. Some of the most helpful online coaching software tools include the following:

  • Schedulista: If you have trouble keeping track of appointments, you can add Schedulista to your platform. This tool helps your clients automatically schedule appointments, which are also added to your calendar.
  • Zoom: It may be hard to communicate with clients face to face online. With Zoom, you can hold a video conference with one or more clients at once and complete a coaching session virtually.
  • Fons: With this software, you can enhance your online coaching platform to include convenient options for clients, such as automatically scheduling appointments and paying open invoices. Fons also helps you keep track of client information and can be accessed through a mobile app if you’re on the go.
  • Noomii: Potential clients visit the Noomii site to browse for online coaches that specialize in specific issues. Adding a detailed profile to Noomii may help you obtain more clients and show off your niche, USP, and experience in the field.

Marketing Tips for Online Coaching

To successfully launch your new online coaching business, you’ll need to create a positive buzz surrounding your expertise and services. Your marketing strategies should focus on building your online reputation and reiterating your USP. To ensure you have a strong online marketing plan that builds your authority and following in your field, consider:

  • Publishing free content, such as blog entries, interviews, or guest posts with other online resources.
  • Engaging in your niche on social media by answering questions and providing advice.
  • Publishing a book in your specific field, either online, in print, or both.
  • Participating in in-person or online speaking engagements that can help other coaches or potential clients.
  • Creating educational video content to share on your website, social media, and other partner channels.

To continue growing your online coaching business, it’s important to consistently offer new content and engage with potential clients. When you pursue an aggressive marketing strategy that emphasizes the expertise and authority you have in your field, you’re more likely to get noticed by potential clients or partners.

Establishing a successful online coaching business requires a solid business plan that identifies your niche and target market. When you implement a marketing plan that shows off your expertise in the field, you’ll expand your customer reach, allowing your business to grow and increasing your profit.


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