Woman opening a notebook on a table with a cappucino and croissant - starting a coaching business checklist

One of the best ways for new bloggers to monetize their blogs is to offer services. Coaching is a popular and lucrative option. To make it easier to launch this kind of service, I’ve developed a Starting A Coaching Business Checklist.

While you might think it’s easy to just start offering coaching services, in fact, there are several steps and elements you need before you do so.

Thinking through what you’ll offer and how you’ll offer it is only part of the process of launching a coaching business.

I launched my blog coaching business in 2020. It took me about two months to organize and develop everything I needed to officially launch it.

I’ll take you through a checklist of things I did that will help you determine and develop what you need before officially starting your coaching business.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a product or service, and decide to purchase it, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. All recommended products and services are based on my positive experience with them. For more information, please read my Disclaimer.

How To Start A Professional Online Coaching Business

Starting A Coaching Business Checklist

This list takes you step-by-step through the process: from the planning process to setting up your business site and tips for launching it.

1. Ask Yourself Why You Want To Coach Others

Before I started my journey to a coaching business, I needed to ascertain one key thing:

Why did I want to start a coaching business?

For me, there were three reasons:

  • People were coming to me with requests for help.
  • I knew that my experience and other professional skills would be helpful to others.
  • It would be a great source of extra income.

These were the key motivators for starting my blog coaching business. You will need to determine why you want to start yours.

PRO TIP: It’s easy to fall into the trap of impostor syndrome and think you’re not ready to coach. Start simply to learn how to coach well. There are many resources and courses to become a professional coach. However, you don’t need a certificate to be a successful coach.

2. What Is Your Niche?

The next step is to identify your niche.

To be successful, you need to know where your strengths lie. What are you REALLY good at?

For me, it’s helping people figure out how to plan and start a blog that’s set up to make money down the line. I’m also great at creating interesting content that people want to read.

Fine-tuning your niche will help you identify who your customer is and how you can serve them.

You can do so by figuring out your About page – and here’s a handy workbook to help you figure all of this out:

3. Is There A Demand For Coaching Services For Your Niche?

The next thing on the Starting A Coaching Business checklist is one that many people fail to do – research your potential customer base.

If you are so niche that there are only a few people interested in the subject matter, your chances of building and growing your business are small.

Think of broader topic categories. For example, I’m focusing on blog coaching. I have a client who is a conscious living/fitness coach. Another is a law of attraction expert and life coach.

They are flourishing within their areas of expertise because there is a broad consumer base that is looking for their services.

To determine whether there is a demand for your niche, research using Google Trends, Pinterest trends, and Instagram (check out top accounts for your niche), etc.

Computer on a desktop with flowers. How to start a coaching business - a checklist.

4. Fine-Tune Your Brand – Visuals & Messaging

Now that you have your niche figured out, you’ll need to consider how you’ll brand your coaching business. This is an important step on this “starting a coaching business” checklist, so don’t gloss over it.

There are three things to consider:

  • Visual branding
  • Messaging – mission statement, values, tone of voice
  • Personal branding

How you present yourself and your business to potential clients can make it or break it.

For example, my ideal clients are women who want to start a blog or grow their existing blogs into businesses.

So my visuals appeal to them – dusty blush pink, balanced with coral pinks and vibrant deep leaf green are my colours.

The brand visuals I’m using are feminine stock photos for the most part – desktops with flowers, lovey coffee cups and other feminine objects.

The look I’m going for is professional. This is because, ultimately, my potential client wants the same for their site.

My messaging speaks to their key challenges and desires: they want to understand how to blog, and to get past their obstacles.

One last thing – I’ve also made sure there’s a big dose of my own personal branding: from my photo to the tone of voice I use in my website and blog content.

This is an important aspect of branding your coaching business.

You’re working with people: they need to like YOU to want to work with you.

Take the time to figure out your branding – here are some resources that will help:

| READ MORE: How To Create A Branding Guide For Your Blog Or Business

How To Write An About Me Page For Your Blog Or Solopreneur Business

5. How Will You Communicate With Clients?

Choosing the format for your client onboarding process and sessions is your next step in the Starting a Coaching Business checklist.

Consider how you will introduce yourself to new potential clients. Will you perhaps connect via email, or do an initial short Zoom or Skype session?

After that, what kind of format will your sessions use? For me, the best option is one-hour coaching sessions via Zoom, in the evenings (after my son is asleep) and on weekend afternoons.

As a bonus, I always do a post-session write-up with notes of what we discussed, links to sites I recommended, and a short action list of the next steps. It’s a nice, added touch that’s super helpful to my clients.

| Related: 15 Top Online Coaching Tools To Run Your Business And Grow It

6. Are You Protecting Yourself Legally And Financially?

One of the most important things in your Starting A Coaching Business Checklist is to get a Coaching Agreement template.

This should be something that is developed by a lawyer, covering all potential liabilities and protecting you legally and financially.

You want to set out in writing what your clients can expect from you and what you will provide them in terms of services. You also determine payment, refund policies, etc.

It’s a small investment (less than USD $200), that can save you thousands of dollars if potentially sued by an unhappy client.

PRO TIP: If you’re starting your online coaching as a business, it’s very wise to connect with an accountant who understands how to start a business (e.g. LLC in the US, etc.) and the basics of what you need to get started for tax purposes. Do your research online too!

| READ MORE: How To Protect Your Coaching Business Legally And Financially

7. What Key Tools Do You Need To Promote Your Business?

Every niche has its specific ways to attract clients, however, there are a few online coaching tools you’ll need to promote your business.

  • A business site (with blog capabilities) that clearly identifies how you help clients solve their problems
  • Social media accounts to attract clients and drive them to your site where they can learn more, etc.

Both a site (with a blog) and social media accounts will be your promotional tools.

You may want to update your existing blog to a business site. This might require a new theme that works with the WooCommerce plugin.

Alternatively, you can start a separate site if your coaching niche is a bit different from your blog niche.

You can use a business theme like this one from Bluchic, or those from Pix and Hue.

When starting your business site, don’t forget to have all the key legal pages.

You’ll also need to write an About page that tells potential clients how you can help solve their problems or transform their lives.

It’s similar to writing a blog About Me page but with a greater focus on your potential client’s needs and your business services, and less on you.

In terms of social media accounts. I recommend focusing on those where your client is most active.

If they’re on Pinterest, pinning blog posts will be a key activity. If they’re getting their inspiration and ideas on Instagram, that’s where you should be actively promoting yourself and your business.

You’ll also probably need a scheduling tool such as Calendly (a free option, which is great to start!).

Finally, one of the most important things you need to use for promoting your coaching service is an email list. You’ve already caught their interest with great content via a freebie. Now you have to nurture them to build them into potential clients.

Starting an email newsletter list is a key priority, along with weekly newsletters. Learn how to get started growing your email newsletter list.

| RELATED: Over 100 Business Hashtags For Bloggers And Online Entrepreneurs

A flat lay of a desktop with flowers and a keyboard. Starting a Coaching Business Checklist.

8. Set Up Service Pages To Sell Your Sessions

The next step in your process of starting a coaching business is to develop a Services page.

Think through what kind of services you’ll offer. Is it by session only? Or a discounted session package? Or are there other things you can offer, such as audits, etc?

If you’re using WordPress, you can use the WooCommerce plugin to set up “product pages” for your coaching services. Once you’ve confirmed a session with a client, they can purchase it through your coaching session product page.

An alternative is to create a page for your services but use an external digital selling platform such as Podia.

This is what I’ve done with my coaching session offerings.

Always remember to speak to the potential client’s problems and how you can help them overcome them.

| RELATED: My Podia Review: Why I Love Using This Digital Product Selling Platform

9. Pricing Your Services The Right Way

When you’re starting a coaching business, there’s a tendency to sell yourself short. It’s often something you’ll do if you compare yourself to more established coaches.

My key piece of advice: don’t undersell yourself to potential clients.

Be fair. Consider your experience, skillset and what you can uniquely offer to them.

If you’re new to the coaching business and want to attract a few initial clients, it’s alright to provide an introductory rate per session.

After a while, you can bump up your rate to be comparable to others in your niche.

This is why I recommend checking out what other coaches in your niche are offering.

PRO TIP: Always raise the price of your services year over year by at least 15%. Your knowledge and expertise as a coach are growing, as are hopefully the testimonials.

10. How Are You Going To Get Paid?

The most important consideration is – how will you get paid?

If you’re just starting out, invoicing your client and tracking payments and clients via a simple Google Sheet tracking system may be all you need at first.

However, as you grow your business, build your “Welcome Package” and offer additional content such as ebooks and workbooks, you may need something such as Podia or Paperbell.

Podia is a digital storefront where you can create a stand-alone website selling your courses, ebooks, templates, webinars, and workshops…. AND coaching! Keep track of all of your sales and coaching clients in one spot.

Paperbell is simpler and hyper-focused on coaching services. It also gives you the option to store and share coaching materials and lessons.

Both work in helping you get paid and keep track of your income generated through coaching.

| Related: My Full Podia Review: Why I Use It Exclusively To Sell My Courses, Content & Coaching Services!

11. Marketing And Content Strategy To Attract Ideal Clients

Whether it’s through a blog or social media, creating content that will attract the right clients who you can help, will make a huge difference.

Developing a marketing and content strategy will help you on the road to success.

You can set everything up, but if you’re not getting traffic to your site or creating awareness via social media, you’ve got nothing.

While some promote the idea of reaching out to potential clients and DM’ing them on Instagram or on Facebook, this approach can come across as extremely pushy.

Not all people like this approach.

Sometimes doing things subtly can reap great rewards.

Here’s my approach, and it works extremely well:

  • Create amazing content on your subject matter: showcase your knowledge as a topic expert (make sure you are using SEO to get found in Google searches!)
  • Give your reader a taste of what you offer: create a lead magnet (free download) that showcases your professionalism and what the experience with you would be like). This also gets them on your email newsletter subscriber list, where you can further build confidence, credibility and trust.
  • Put yourself out there occasionally, especially on social media: do a video where you speak on a key issue your potential clients face.
  • Create a community that attracts potential clients: running a Facebook group is an excellent way to build a reputation and your personal brand, attracting clients. Share your content (a great way to boost blog traffic) to further build your credibility and interest in your services.

This works as a very smart way to build your personal brand, while at the same time attracting clients.

| RELATED: How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome As A Blogger Or Solopreneur

12. Make Networking A Key Strategy

Referrals are some of the best ways you can get business as a coach.

This last point on my checklist for starting a coaching business can be extremely powerful as a promotion tool.

When somebody else is recommending you, they’re giving you a credibility boost. Nobody will recommend somebody they don’t trust themselves.

Make networking with others in your industry one of your priorities and key growth strategies.

PRO TIP: You may want to consider creating a referral program with select blogger friends and past clients. This is a great way to get new business!

| RELATED: How To Make Friends With Other Bloggers And Grow Your Business

Launch Your Coaching Business!

Once you have everything set up and ready to go, it’s time to announce the launch of your coaching business!

Promote it on:

  • Your existing blog if it’s different from your new business site.
  • All of your social media accounts, including personal ones
  • Facebook groups, where relevant and permissible (promo threads)
  • Your LinkedIn profile and relevant groups
  • Email newsletter

And as I noted, you need to promote yourself as a niche expert. You can do so on Pinterest (use Idea pins!), and Instagram.

| Related: Over 100 Marketing, Blogging and Business Hashtags For Instagram To Boost Your Visibility

How To Start A Coaching Business Online With Personal Branding

Now that you know the basics of getting set up with a coaching business online, there’s one thing that you can’t forget.

Your personal brand.

People want to work with people they like.

So aside from promoting your business through marketing and networking activities, you’re going to need to fine-tune your personal branding strategy.

  • What do you want to be known as?
  • What do you want to help people solve?
  • How will you position yourself when it comes to your brand voice and personality?
  • What are your values?

Answering these questions will help you determine how you position yourself online and on your site, as well as during your touchpoints with potential and existing clients.

A Final Word On Coaching

To become a fantastic coach, you need to remember, that you’re coaching a person, not a problem.

You may be helping them solve their problems, but you need to help the person get thinking about how to solve them themselves.

Providing tips and strategies is like nudging them to action. Ultimately, they need to do the work themselves to achieve their goals.

Do your research! Ask others what they like about coaches and what they don’t like.

Learn also from other types of coaches.

For example, I checked out this list of tips for sports coaches. Many are useful to my own coaching business!

Finally, remember that it may take some time before you get clients coming to you.

The more time you put into promoting yourself, your awesome content and your services, the more opportunities you’ll have to gain clients.

Become productive from the start of your new business and you’ll see things grow so quickly!

Want to work with a blog coach to get you started with your business site? Let’s talk. Check out my blog coaching services.

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QUESTION: What is your greatest challenge in starting a coaching business?


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Guide to Starting A Coaching Business

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