How to Make Money as a Life Coach: 3 Successful Coaches Reveal Their Secrets

how to become a life coach
University of Fraser Valley under Creative Commons

Do you love helping people achieve their fullest potential? Do you wish you could teach, mentor and lead while also making money?

Then a career in life coaching could be right for you. This $2 billion industry is growing fast, and it doesn’t require a degree or formal training. All you need is a willingness to work hard and a desire to truly help people.

If you want to know how to become a life coach and make a living motivating others, keep reading.

What Do Life Coaches Do?

At their core, life coaches help people find fulfillment from their lives. They achieve this in a variety of ways: helping clients create their dream career, cultivate loving relationships, break down mental roadblocks or improve their health and wellness.

The list of specialties is long, and the best life coaches dedicate themselves to a niche they’re passionate about. Ben Altman, for example, is the co-founder of Charisma on Command, where he offers charisma coaching.

“Charisma coaching is really for people who believe as I do that the key to your success in life, whether in business or dating or whatever it is, comes down to your ability to create and maintain incredible relationships at a moment’s notice with anyone you meet,” explains Altman.

On the other hand, Jennie Mustafa-Julock (better known as Coach Jennie) brands herself as The Audacity Coach. She specializes in “helping driven individuals on the brink of something spectacular bust through obstacles and build the Audacious lives they’ve been dreaming about.”

The techniques of life coaches are as varied as their specialties, but most revolve around in-person, phone or Skype sessions during which the coach talks with the client about their goals and obstacles. The coach then ask questions, provides suggestions and assigns “homework” to direct and motivate the client toward whatever it is they want to achieve.

How to Become a Life Coach

The path to becoming a life coach is different for everyone. There’s no official certification or licensing required — and though many training programs are available, none of the coaches I spoke with had completed one. They simply drew from their experience and knowledge to start helping people.   

Here’s how you can get started in your career as a life coach:

Pinpoint Your Motivation

This should be every aspiring coach’s first step. “Get in touch with your why,” suggests life coach Shannon Kaiser.

Meaning: Ask yourself “Why do I want to be a coach? How am I going to help people?” The answers to these questions will guide everything you do, as well as your bottom line.

“If you’re in it for the money, be a business coach,” explains Altman. “It’s easier to value your services with an ROI and it makes the sale simple… That said, if you’re in it to change people’s lives, pick something that you can really help with, an area that you actually have skills in and can make an impact, and forget about the money. Yes it’s harder to ‘dollarize’ it, but if it’s life changing people will still see the value of it.”

Do Your Research

As a life coach, you should be a font of knowledge about personal development, as well as your specialty. It’s your job to read books and take courses so your clients don’t have to.

Constantly expand your knowledge on an array of coaching-related topics: “Self-help, productivity, positive thinking, wellness, career change, personal development, goal setting, etc and any topics that might be specific to your planned specialty,” suggests Coach Jennie.

Speaking of that specialty, make you’re an expert in it. “There are too many coaches in the world who don’t have an actual skill set,” Altman says. “My advice for anyone thinking about coaching would be to start by building a skill set. Make yourself a world-class resource.” For learning about the coaching industry itself, he recommends The Prosperous Coach.

Hire a Coach

Want people to hire you as a life coach? Then you should probably have a coach yourself.

“If you really believe in the coaching model, then you should have one… the great ones will change your life and save you a TON of time and headache,” explains Altman.

Not only is it valuable to experience the client side of coaching, but learning from a great coach also improves your coaching practice.

Coach Jennie suggests using your coach as a direct resource: “Ask your coach if she will take you under her wing and share some of her insight and best practices with you as your mentor.”

How to Make Money as a Life Coach

So you’ve figured out your why, read up on personal development, and hired a coach to help you navigate your new career. Now all you have to do is find some clients.

Here’s how to find your first life coaching clients — and start making money.

Make a Website

As with most businesses, having a website is important. You need a platform where potential clients can read about you and your services.

Though Altman says you don’t need an Internet presence to be a coach, his blog is what helped his practice grow: “We definitely leveraged the power of the internet to start our business and I’m so glad we did, because it has made things like international expansion so much easier.”

Tell Your Networks

Tell everybody you’re in business! Reach out to friends, family and coworkers and ask them if they know anybody who could use your services.

To sweeten the offer, you can even offer free coaching to prospective clients. Coach Jennie does this in the form of 30-minute “Get Unstuck Yesterday” sessions.

Create Content About Your Topic

To become an authority in your chosen niche, you need to produce helpful content. Choose the media you feel most comfortable with (blog, podcast, video, etc) and start creating.

Your content will help clients decide if they want to hire you. “If you deliver great content, the right people come up to you if they sense it’s a good fit,” explains Altman. (He first discovered a market for charisma coaching when his co-founder started writing online articles about the topic.)

This is how Kaiser found her first clients, too: “They read my articles and wanted to work with me. Even today I don’t chase clients, I believe in the power of attraction marketing.”

Get Active on Social Media

Social media is a great place to connect with potential clients and other coaches. Build up your communities on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and make sure you highlight your services in your profiles.

Offer Workshops

If you want to find local clients, workshops and seminars can be great way to meet (and help) a lot of potential clients at once.

With his charisma coaching business, Altman started off by teaching affordable in-person charisma classes for $10 to $15 per person and offering extended coaching at the end.

Go Beyond One-on-One Coaching

Moving beyond one-on-one coaching is a smart way to increase your revenue — so once you feel comfortable in your new coaching career, it might be time to step up your game.

“Think bigger than just coaching. The best coaches I know also write books, lecture on stages or lead group workshops. If life coaching is what you really want to do, then do it in multiple forms, not just one-on-one. You will help more people and make more money, not to mention you will be happier than you ever thought possible,” says Kaiser.

Is Life Coaching Right for You?

Though life coaching may sound like a fun and exciting career, it’s not a cake walk. The field has become flooded in recent years, and creating a thriving coaching career requires a lot of hard work.

“Being a life coach ain’t for dabblers,” warns Coach Jennie. “To be great at this work is hard, serious work. But if you feel called to do this work, to devote yourself to helping others become the best damn versions of themselves possible, the profession needs you.”

Besides the willingness to work hard, coaches must also possess passion, empathy, creativity, leadership and commitment.

“You need to be madly passionate about helping people, deeply empathetic about your clients problems and challenges, and genuinely committed to helping your clients learn and grow through action,” says Coach Jennie.

If you are those things — and you become a great coach with a solid business foundation — your earning potential is only limited by your efforts.

“I know the national average for the United States is $40,000 a year, but I have coach and author friends (including myself) who are making six or seven figures,” says Kaiser. “The sky is the limit when you come from a place of service and wanting to help others with your gift.”

Your Turn: Do you want to become a life coach? What other questions do you have about the profession?