I get a lot of emails from aspiring coaches who are looking for advice about starting their practice. Because I offer coaching as a part of my business here on happyblackwoman.com and over on rosettathurman.com, it seems that many people think I have this big, profitable coaching practice. Not so. In fact, if I were to just rely on the income I receive from my coaching services, I’d be broke! Although I certainly cultivate a steady stream of coaching clients from month to month, it’s crucial that I also maintain alternative streams of income to ensure that my business is sustainable.
Not to rain on anyone’s parade here, but I want to be honest about what it takes to earn a living doing what you love, especially if what you love is helping people! Here are some important considerations if your dream is to start your own coaching business.
The Cost of Coach Certification: Is It Worth It?
A common question I get is about where I got my coaching certification. I am very upfront with everyone in making it clear that I am NOT certified, nor do I plan to get certified through any organization. (I have, however, received excellent training in personal development coaching from The CAPP Institute, which is not, of course, the same as being certified.)
Why? Well, for one thing, I don’t legally NEED to. Most people don’t know this, but you actually don’t have to have any type of certification to be a coach. None. It’s not required and the certification programs are usually quite expensive. From what I’ve seen in my research, the most reputable certification programs range from $2,500 to $10,000 including varying levels of training. If you don’t think you’ll make that money back in your business, then it might not be the best investment, at least not right away. I’d focus on building your brand as an expert first, then expand your reach to offer coaching services to your core audience.
Can You Earn Enough Money as a Coach to Pay Your Bills? Probably Not
If you wanna work for yourself solely as a coach, run the numbers first. Most coaches have multiple income streams because coaching alone just doesn’t bring in enough money. Let’s look at an example, shall we?
Let’s say you need $2,000 month to pay your bills. What does that mean for your coaching practice?
- You’d need 20 clients a month at an average rate of $100/hour, EVERY month. And that’s just to break even.
- Using that rough financial breakdown, you’d need to be on the phone, on Skype or in person with at least 5 clients every week, or at least one client per weekday.
- Do you have enough of a brand or professional reputation to be able to pull in at least ONE coaching client per weekday at $100/hour? Most coaches don’t, including me!
See what I mean by running the numbers? Obviously, none of this is impossible, but my point is that it’s a bit naive to think you can build an entire business based on one-on-one coaching alone. This is why most of the successful, experienced coaches out there offer hourly coaching, coaching packages, and group coaching PLUS books, speaking, audio programs and online training as additional income. Also, having multiple products and services to offer your clients and customers allows you to have something to fall back on when one aspect of your business slows down. Because, trust me, it WILL slow down. And if coaching is your only gig, it can be tough to make ends meet.
The Silver Lining
The fun of being an entrepreneur, for me, has been being able to explore ALL my different areas of passion and expertise. Through lots of trial and error (lots of error!), I’ve learned which of my skills offer enough value to where people are willing to pay for them. I never set out to be a coach. Or a speaker. Or an online instructor. But that’s what people have been willing to pay me for. Look at it this way: your passion is the fuel for your work, but the services and products you offer will vary. Give the people what they want and the money will come. In this way, you get to earn an income as well as live out your personal mission to help others.
Are you thinking of starting your own coaching business? How do you plan to make it profitable?
P.S. This short video post pretty much summarizes everything I just wrote: How to Get Paid to Do What You Love