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Building and Running a Life Coaching Business



10 Steps to a Life Coaching Business

1. Find your Niche or Specialisation I'm not suggesting that you only take on clients in your particular niche, but when you market yourself, you should target a particular niche or specialisation - your 'hungry crowd'. The market is so crowded with Life Coaches that potential clients have little to go on when finding and choosing a life coach, if you can stand out to a potential client by offering them exactly what they are looking for you will attract more clients to your coaching business.

Imagine if you were looking for a coach and the issue you motivating you to get help was, for example, 'working with difficult people'. If you found a coach advert of web site that:

Gave examples of that problem that you could relate to and identify with;
Talked about how you can be helped and overcome your difficulty, and;
Gave examples and client testimonials specifically about this problem.

Would you be much more likely to approach this coach about your problem than other, more general coaches? If you answered yes, can you see how you could get more clients buy offering a specialty service that appeals to a particular niche?

It may be that your niche is obvious to you, but if it is not, how do you decide what your coaching niche is to be? It would be a good idea if your niche is an area you can be good at! Here are some questions you can ask yourself;

What particular problems or issues have I had to overcome in my own life?
What areas of my life do I handle particularly well?
What do people seek me out for?
Is there something that my friends and family rely on me to do? Am I the 'money man' who sorts out the finances best, or the person always called on to deal with teenage boys issues, or anything else?
What is it about me that makes me good at this?
What, specifically, do I do that means I do this well?

If you don't come up with anything yet, don't worry, there are plenty more options;

Ask other people - your friends, family, work colleagues. Ask them what they think you are particularly good at.
Use a psychometric tool - like the Clifton Strengthsfinder from Gallup
to uncover your inner talents.

2. Develop a Relationship with your Hungry Crowd If you do steps 3 to 6 described below you will be making great progress developing relationships with people in your niche. One of the most important things you can do is to build a mailing list of clients and potential clients. This is a main means of persistent contact with your 'hungry crowd'. Remember that you ure unlikely to secure a client at the first contact. The chances that your timing is so spot on are slim. People will have other priorities and will be ready to come to coaching with you when the time is right for them. Think about it, if your one and only contact comes at a time when your prospect is not ready you've missed your chance. This is why you should set your marketing up in such as way that you have persistent contact with your list. In this way you are far more likely to get your message in front of a prospect when the time is right for them. How do you develop a mailing list? Thankfully, his area is well covered on the internet by a number of excellent experts and trainers. The one I like the most is Jimmy D Brown. I warn you, Jimmy is from Texas and his accent and style may put you off a little. Get past all that, and he's an absolute master of list building and other internet business development methods. And he's a very good trainer. Spend some time listening to Jimmy's free podcasts and reading his free reports and you can see for yourself how good he is.

3. Develop Services and Products A good way to establish yourself in your niche and make some money is to develop saleable products from your knowledge and expertise. In your particular area, what do people want to know about? What do you do that you can describe so that people can do it to themselves? I know that it's always better to work face to face with people or groups, but that approach limits the reach of your work. Think of it this way: The maximum number of people you can reach face to face is limited by your time and ability to travel. It's not that many people, on a one to one basis. (Of course, if you are Anthony Robbins...). You can reach many more people with a book, an article, a course, a movie, a recording. I understand that the impact of one-to-one coaching can be deeper when one to one, but you can still do some good with a specific coaching process that you publish for sale in some way.

4. Establish Yourself as an Expert Related to the notion of establishing and developing your niche, you can develop the idea and belief amongst your 'hungry crowd' that you are the expert in your field. Where do we go when we want to know about online marketing? One of the established experts. How do we know they are an expert? Usually because someone has recommended them and then we have tried them out for ourselves. If more than one person recommends them we almost certainly position them as an expert in our minds. SO how do you create the awareness in the marketplace that you are an expert? Do the things here!

5. Write and Get Published Write articles, and post them on article submission sites. A couple of the best are evancarmichael.com, and ezinearticles.com. When you put your articles on these sites, people pick them up and put them on their own web sites (because releveant content = traffic). Each article is accredited to you and has a link to your site. This is very powerful. You get more traffic from click-through's, and people see your name on other people's web sites. Also, the search engines rank your site higher because you have links back to it, so you will get more traffic from search results.

6. Speak - Public Speaking Speak at networking groups and, if you can get on the agenda, conferences. Volunteer to do free intoductory talks on your niche subject. People will get to know you. You'll become associated with your subject. Before too long, people will be contacting you for your opinion, guidance, - or work.

7. Develop your Internet Marketing It's a fact of life these days that you are likely to need to promote yourself, your business and find clients via the web. There are armies of people out there waiting to relieve you of (in some cases) large chunks opf cash in exchange for download courses, email courses, video courses - you name it, it's out there. I have spent more money than I care to admit to on courses from internet 'gurus' and the latest big thing. For the most part they are a flash in the pan. There are some good resources out there however, and the good news is that a lot of it is free.

8. Manage Your Business I know this sounds obvious but, for me anyway, nothing gets in the way more than niggling admin things I haven't done or organised. Do your clients often ask for the same information (when I work for companies, I have to work through a Limited Company. I'm always always asked for a Certificate of Incorporation, a VAT Certificate, 2 References, a short Biography - usually 200 to 250 words - and proof of Professional Indemnity Insurance). Do you need to provide evidence of your qualifications? Keep them in a folder, with copies ready for when you need them.

Stay on top of record keeping, accounting, clients notes and records (if you keep them), and all the other documentation that can pile up and bog you down mentally and emotionally when you get behind with them. These things are energy sappers so keep a clear world as much as you reasonable can.

Do you have professional bodies and associations that you maintain membership with? If you do, stay up to date. These memberships are part of your professional credibility, keep them active as a valuable contrtibution to your standing in your professional community.

If you need to market yourself, set aside time every week to do this. Keep checklists of things that you need to do regularly and work through them. A really good book I read and followed some time ago was 'Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-Free Productivity'. You might like to give it a try.

9. Develop Yourself It can be hard to find the time and money, but it's a good investment in yourself. Go on courses, workshops and attend seminars and conferences in your field. Keep your skills and capabilites current. Extend your knowledge. Learn and practice new areas. You'll become more and more accomplished, and confident in yourself. Aside from the developmental benefits, it gets you known, you meet people and opportunities come up.

10. Help Others to Succeed The most important thing you can do. Focus on helping other people to achieve their desired outcomes. Whenever the phone rings and it's a prospective client, think "what can I do for this person?"; I will listen to their needs and respond to what they are telling me they want."

If you go to business networking meetings, don't wonder what the person who is talking has to offer you, or what they can do to help you to develop your business, ask yourself what you can do to help them to develop their business. Who do you know that you can connect them to? What experiences have you had that would help them?

When you focus on other people, their needs and wants, their desired outcomes, you connect to them, and to a higher purpose. When you are connected to the right intent, the right things happen, for your clients, and for you!

I know I said 10 Steps, but there is a - very important, 11th Step:

Insure Yourself You should really have Professional Indemnity Insurance to operate as a Life Coach. This is really to protect yourself. It's not pleasant to think about, but a client, or someone close to them, could blame you for undesirable outcomes and there is always the possibility that you could end up in court. If that happens (and it is VERY unlikely), you'll need insurance to cover the legal costs and and award that may be made against you if you lose.