How To Start A Coaching Business in 2023

The online coaching industry is a booming space where you can leverage your expertise to help other people transform their lives. With that said, coaching can be a fulfilling career of impact that also allows you to make a significant income.

I was able to grow my own financial education and coaching business to over six figures using the exact checklist and steps that I’ll be sharing with you. Today, I teach other moms how to do the same!

With that said, getting started doesn’t have to be confusing. So in this post, I’ll share the exact steps that you should take to start your online coaching business.

Starting A Coaching Business Checklist

Although I’ll provide specific details, here’s a summary of the steps necessary to start your online coaching business. So, if you’re looking for a “starting a coaching business” checklist, these are the steps you’ll need to follow.

  1. Identify your coaching niche
  2. Determine your target audience
  3. Develop your coaching program
  4. Determine your price
  5. Setup your backend systems
  6. Get legal documents drafted
  7. Establish your online presence
  8. Market your business
  9. Get your first client
  10. Deliver & refine your program
  11. Grow and scale your coaching business

You’ll probably want to keep this handy as you’re starting your coaching business. I recommend bookmarking this post!

11 Steps To Starting an Online Coaching Business From Scratch

Whether you’re a life coach, health coach, career coach, or business coach, you can follow these steps for starting an online coaching business.

1. Identify your coaching niche

Starting your coaching business begins by figuring out what you actually want to specialize in. This is your niche.

A niche is a specialization within an overall industry.

For example, if you are a health coach, your niche—or specialization—might be gut health. If you’re a career coach, your niche may be career change. Or, in my case as a financial coach, my niche was specifically debt payoff.

Here are some examples of coaching niches:

  • Financial coaching – Debt payoff, investing, real estate investing
  • Health coaching – Weight loss, gut health, fertility
  • Relationship coaching – Dating, marriage, parenting

Get the idea?

Niching is essentially going from being very general about what you can help with to being very specific.

Although it initially seems like you’re limiting yourself, niching down actually has some benefits.

It allows you to establish yourself as an expert.

When you specialize within your industry, you can become the go-to expert in that area. This means people will come to you to get answers to questions about your area of expertise.

Experts are always called on for commentary and for their “expert” opinion. We see this often on the news and even in court cases.

Having a specific coaching niche positions you as an expert in your industry and a go-to source—specifically for clients looking for help in that area.

Of course, you’ll want to niche down to something that you have the most expertise and experience in. Ultimately, it should be something that you can best help people with.

It helps you make more money.

Specializing also helps you make more money. Take for example a brain surgeon vs a general surgeon.

According to Salary.com, a Neurological Surgeon makes an average of over $500,000 per year. In comparison, a General Surgeon makes more than $100,000.

Obviously, both salaries are great; however, you can see how being specialized allows you to earn more. This is because being specialized requires specific and in-depth skills that being a generalist doesn’t require.

As a result, your skills and knowledge are highly sought after because they aren’t common.

So, the more specialized you are in your industry, the more that you can command for your services.

Considering both of these things, it’s still important to ensure that you’re actually in a profitable industry where people are willing to pay for your services.

If you’re not sure about this, I suggest watching my free training on how to determine if your coaching industry and program will be profitable.

2. Determine your ideal client

Once you’ve determined your coaching niche, the next step is to define your ideal client. Narrowing down the audience that you will serve is just as important as narrowing down your niche.

Most new coaches make the mistake of thinking that they can help everyone. The reality is that it’s simply impossible to do.

Instead, there is a specific demographic and psychographic of people that you’re best equipped to help.

Knowing your ideal client, or target audience, is important because you will need to create messaging that will attract them to your business. This simply means that you will need to say things that will make sense to the people that you’re trying to reach.

For example, if your target audience is parents of toddlers, you will create social media content that specifically talks about being a parent of a toddler. On the other hand, you wouldn’t create content about being single with no kids.

In reality, getting really clear on your target audience is an iterative process. As you work with more clients, you’ll gain more clarity about who you can help get the best results.

However, if you’re just getting started, think about the people who always come to you for help or those that you’ve helped in the past. What do they have in common?

This is where you can start to begin defining your target audience. Nonetheless, if you want more help with this, I suggest checking out my article on how to find your ideal client.

3. Develop your coaching packages & offers

With your niche defined and your ideal client identified, it’s time to develop your coaching packages and offers. There are several factors that go into creating your coaching offers, so I’ll address them in sections.

Determine your coaching approach

As a new coach, I strongly recommend only having one coaching package, or program, to begin with. This will allow you to perfect it over time without dividing your focus on other things. With that said, I also recommend starting off with one-on-one coaching.

Doing one-on-one coaching, in the beginning, will allow you to work more intimately with your clients to help them get results. You will also get real-time feedback so that you can quickly make refinements to your program to improve client results.

Only after doing one-on-one coaching at least three times do I recommend branching out to offering group programs.

Outline your coaching methodologies

Ideally, each of your coaching packages or offers should solve one specific problem for your clients. For example, as a career coach, you may have a coaching program specifically for getting a new job.

Based on the single problem that your program will solve, you’ll want to develop a program curriculum. Your program framework and curriculum are the specific, chronological steps that your clients must take to get results.

Having a program curriculum and framework that you coach from ensures that your clients’ results are predictable and repeatable. It also helps keep your coaching organized and easy to follow.

Package your coaching program

Once you have your coaching framework and curriculum, it’s time to package it into a coaching program. This includes outlining and creating the necessary training and assignments that your clients will need to complete.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all at once. The best approach to take is to actually get clients before creating your program lessons and assignments. You don’t want to spend hours creating worksheets and videos before you actually validate your offer by selling it first.

Nonetheless, I’ll share some tools that you can use to package your coaching program later, so keep reading!

4. Determining your pricing structure

The next step in starting your coaching business is to determine how you’ll price your coaching. I’ll provide a more in-depth article on how to price your coaching program, but here’s a general overview.

Most new coaches tend to price their coaching by the hour—which is usually determined by how much they make in their corporate career. Although I don’t advise it, you can price your coaching based on an hourly rate.

When I initially started coaching, I charged $97 per one-hour coaching session. Unfortunately with this approach, you aren’t getting fully compensated for the amount of work that you do outside of that hour—researching, preparing, and answering questions.

Contrarily, having packages allows you to price based on the package and not hours of coaching. So instead of coming up with an hourly rate, you’ll price your package according to the value it provides and your financial goals.

For example, if you only want to work with 4 clients per month and your goal is to make $10,000 per month, then you’d price your program or package at $2,500.

I also suggest checking out my free training where I break down exactly how to create a coaching program that your clients will pay thousands for (even if you’re just getting started).

5. Setup your backend systems

To deliver your coaching program, you’ll need backend systems and processes in place. What you’ll need will depend on your coaching structure; however, there are some back tools that are necessary no matter what.

Here are the tools and systems that you’ll need for coaching:


Depending on your coaching structure, your clients may have to schedule calls. You don’t want to have to go back and forth via email to determine mutual availability. Instead, you can use a scheduling app. There are several options, including Acuity Scheduling and Calendly.


You’ll need a way to communicate with your clients virtually. To do this, you can use services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet. These are typically free to use, so there’s no added expense to your business.


Of course, you’ll need a way for your clients to pay you. You can easily get paid via a payment processor like Paypal or Stripe. Note that you will pay a transaction fee, so be sure to account for that in your pricing.

Some additional tools that you may need include Google Drive or Dropbox. This is where you can store coaching documents and call recordings

6. Create your coaching agreement

The next important step in starting your coaching business is getting your legal documents in place.

It’s best to clearly establish expectations and boundaries with your clients. You’ll want to document the services that you’re providing to your clients and what is expected in return. This protects you, your business, and your clients.

I go more in-depth on the legal considerations that you need to take in the legal and financial sections of this article. Nonetheless, here’s what your coaching agreement should include at a minimum:

  1. Specifics about what your program includes and what it doesn’t
  2. How you will communicate
  3. Payment and refund policies
  4. Schedule process
  5. Overall expectations and responsibilities

Unless you’re an attorney, it’s best not to draft legal documents on your own. I’ve included a few recommendations for attorneys who provide legal templates for coaches. Specifically, attorney Amira Irfan and Coaches & Company founded by attorney Yasmine Hamdan.

7. Establish your online presence

Now that you have the foundation of your coaching business outlined, it’s time to start building your online presence and authority.

The way to do that is through social media. As a new coach, you’ll want to create content that will establish your credibility and expertise in your industry.

Some content ideas include creating YouTube videos or even doing live streams where you teach and break down concepts that are relevant to your ideal client.

Another great way to establish your online presence is by providing commentary to media outlets, doing collaborations, and being a guest on other people’s platforms.

Do you need a website?

The truth is that you don’t need a website to start a coaching business; however, having one does help establish your credibility.

The primary goal of your website will be to share more about you and your services. This means that you don’t need to spend a whole lot of money on getting one built. You can simply use pre-built website templates and modify them yourself.

Even after being online for over a decade, I still leverage free and paid website templates for my sites that help me generate thousands of dollars each month.

One of my favorite sites to purchase templates from is BluChic. Their templates are not only affordable, but they also offer installation and support.

8. Market your business

Ultimately, you’ll want to concentrate your marketing in places where your ideal clients hang out. For instance, if your ideal client is a mom of toddlers, you’ll probably find ways to organically market in Facebook groups for moms.

Though creating free content on social media is one way to market your coaching business, you actually need a true marketing strategy. Essentially, you’ll need a system for attracting your ideal clients to your business.

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Organic marketing – this is leveraging free mediums to get your name out. Examples include posting free content on social media, interviewing on podcasts, word of mouth, etc.
  2. Paid marketing – This means that you pay for advertising on major platforms to get your name and services in front of your ideal clients.

Though many new coaches are nervous about paying for marketing, it is the quickest ways to grow your business. As long as it’s done correctly, you’ll be able to make a return on your investment in ads.

If you’re interested, I have a free training that outlines my exact marketing and sales strategy for getting coaching clients!

9. Get your first client

Now it’s time to get clients. If you’ve established your online presence and have been proactively marketing your business, this step is inevitable.

Begin connecting with your ideal clients on social media. This includes engaging with them in groups, comments, and via messenger. You may also ask your existing network to refer people for your services as well.

If you’re selling a high-ticket coaching program—usually costing $3,000 or more—you’ll want to have a sales script to help you enroll clients. This will help guide you through the conversation necessary to sell at a higher price point.

Need a sales script? Send me a message on Instagram (@TheFoAlexander) and I’ll send over a link to a simple sales script that you can follow!

10. Deliver your program

Once you’ve secured your first client, it’s time to deliver with excellence! Ultimately, the goal is to help them get results in whatever area you specialize in.

You should already have all the tools that you need to deliver your coaching. Next, you’ll want to manage your client experience.

One thing to specifically do is to track your client’s progress and results. You can do this with a simple spreadsheet. While tracking their progress, you’ll also want to note ways that you can continue to improve your coaching skills and knowledge.

As you’re coaching your clients, be sure to constantly get feedback on ways to improve so that you can immediately implement them.

11. Grow and scale your coaching business

The final step is to grow and scale your coaching business. This doesn’t just mean ramping up your marketing and advertising—although that’s part of it. A part of growing is also refining your coaching offers and improving as a coach.

You should have the mindset of continuous improvement—both personally and within your business.

Eventually, to scale, you begin hiring support and outsources aspects of your business. You may also hire additional coaches to assist you in serving your clients.

Once you’re perfected your “core offer”, then you can begin offering more coaching programs or packages and diversifying your income.

Now, let’s talk about the not-so-sexy side of starting a coaching business that you should not avoid.

Obviously, if you’re starting a legitimate business, there are some legal & financial steps that you’ll need to take. Here’s what you also need to do.

1. Register your business

To operate a legal entity in your state, you’ll need to register your business. To do this, I suggest consulting with an accountant and attorney.

They will be able to give you professional advice on what business type is best for your situation.

Nonetheless, most new entrepreneurs file as a sole proprietorship or Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the US.

Now, in order to register your business, you’ll need to come up with a business name which is important for step two.

If you want to be a legally legitimate business, you’ll need to have policies and agreements in place. Here’s what you need to have drafted by an attorney, at a minimum:

  • Website Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Disclaimers
  • Coaching Agreement

Getting these drafted by an attorney can get pretty expensive. So as you’re just starting out, I recommend purchasing pre-written legal templates from reputable attorneys.

My go-to source for legal templates for my online business is attorney Amira Irfan. Her legal templates for coaches are reasonably priced in comparison to others that I’ve seen. You can also check out Coaches & Company founded by attorney Yasmine Hamdan.

3. File a trademark for your business name

Most attorneys would agree that filing a trademark for your business name should be done sooner than later.

In order to do this, you’ll need to do your due diligence to ensure that your business name isn’t already in use.

Attorneys will be able to do a much more thorough search; however, do your initial searches as well. You can do this for free on the USPTO.gov website and simply do a Google and social media search.

Once you confirm that the name is available, secure your website domain name and social media handles on all major platforms. You can secure your website domain from sites like Blue Host or Namecheap.

4. Obtain necessary certifications

Though the online coaching industry is an unregulated space, there are some niches that may require certifications. For example, you may require a certification to market yourself as a health coach.

You’ll want to get this taken care of before you publicize your services.

5. Open a business bank account

Once your business is registered, you will be able to open a business bank account.

You want to keep your business income and transactions completely separate from your personal finances. Commingling funds can be a tax nightmare, so start off on the right foot and open a separate account.

There are free online business bank accounts for small businesses or you can just start off with a personal bank account that you solely use for business transactions.

As you grow, you’ll want to hire an accountant or bookkeeper to help keep your financial books clean. You’ll also want an accountant who specializes in taxes and tax planning to handle your tax preparation and ensure that you’re compliant with the IRS.

Until that time comes, using a great spreadsheet or bookkeeping software will suffice. I personally use Quickbooks; however, there are other free options to start off with.

6. Get business insurance

Having insurance is always a great idea. So consider getting business insurance to hedge against any legal or financial mishaps.

Launch your coaching business today!

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You’re well on your way to starting your coaching business with a solid foundation.

Remember that you can always refer back to this post if you get stuck on anything. But what’s even better is that I have a coaching program specifically designed to help you launch or grow your coaching business.

So, if you’re a mom who wants support and guidance as you launch your coaching business, schedule a complimentary strategy call to learn more.

FAQs about starting a coaching business

What do you need to start a coaching business?

Here’s a checklist for starting a coaching business:

  1. Identify your coaching niche
  2. Determine your target audience
  3. Develop your coaching program
  4. Determine your price
  5. Setup your backend systems
  6. Get legal documents drafted
  7. Establish your online presence
  8. Market your business
  9. Get your first client
  10. Deliver & refine your program
  11. Grow and scale your coaching business

How do I get my first paying coaching clients?

You’ll want to market your business so that your ideal clients are aware that you have a solution that can solve their problems. Start engaging with them on social media and eventually offer your services. You can also ask for referrals from your existing network.