Can You Afford To Be A Life Coach?

One of the things that I am going out of my way to help people understand with the Coach The Life Coach training, is that it’s hard.

And by that I don’t just mean mastering the requisite skills to help you become an efficient coach, but also to attract clients and building a successful thriving practice rather than a nice little hobby.

Unfortunately, most large training companies gloss over this. Telling people who are about to hand you large wads of cash for your services that the training you are offering in no way shape or form guarantees success can be bad for business.

I’m sure there are some ethical training organizations that do vet their attendees and make sure they have a clear understanding that they are in for a lot of hard work with no guarantees, but most seem to mysteriously bypass this crucial information.

When I roll out the training in the Fall (looking like November now rather than October due to the amount of work still to be done) I shall make it obvious to everybody who signs up that their likelihood of success, statistically speaking, is very low.

The Hardest Part of Being a Life Coach Is Generating Clients

Of course I am designing the curriculum so that coaches who participate have a much better understanding of how to generate clients and also realize that it’s a process that requires a lot of tenacity, diligence and commitment.

I want to put the people who put their trust me to be in the best position possible to succeed by sharing techniques and strategies that I have used to good effect and also pointing out the pitfalls many Life Coaches (including me in my first 3 or 4 years) can fall victim to.

One of the things that I don’t cover off on the course (and I’m wondering if I should be adding it now) is the true cost of being a coach.

I’m sorry to keep knocking other training companies, but I have seen several give the impression that all you need to become a coach is a computer, an Internet connection, a phone, Sykpe and a pen and paper.

That is incredibly appealing to people because they usually will have all of those things so they are potentially looking at a zero sum start up, or maybe a couple of hundred bucks if you throw in a WordPress website done by their best friends 14 year old son.

And the fact is, you can start a Life Coaching practice that way, and many do.

Unfortunately however, it’s almost certainly going to fail (especially if you have the double whammy of not only having no money to invest, but needing to create an immediate income to pay your bills) because like any business it needs capital to operate.

The Cost Of Running A Life Coaching Practice

Today I’m going to share with you my average monthly expenditure so you can get an idea of what lies ahead. And I’m doing an average as at the moment with all my expenditure for this site, it’s waaaaaay higher.

Now there are without doubt short-cuts that you can come up with. When you start you can get a free newsletter account with a company like Mail Chimp. However, once your list starts to grow they will start charging.

I go with Aweber because even though they are a tad more expensive than the likes of Mail Chimp, they have the best reputation with ISP’s and the highest delivery rate in the industry.

By the way, to the best of my knowledge all newsletter providers increase their price as your list goes, so if you signed up for Aweber you wouldn’t be paying anything like what I am.

Equally, you probably don’t need to fork out for 90 Mbs Internet if you’re not regularly uploading files to the Internet, regular broadband will do.

Warning: Do NOT try and use Outlook or any other Mail program to run your list because you will be flagged for spam

Also, there is not really any need for a new Life Coach to sign up for Fuzebox (a similar, but far superior conference platform to GoToMeeting) and I use it largely for my coach training, although I am starting to see the benefits with clients as it’s far more stable than Skype.

  • Aweber newsletter – $65
  • SEO Support – $250
  • Fuzebox – $40
  • Web hosting (Hostgator) – $20
  • Pay Pal Pro – $30
  • Transfer Big Files – $5
  • E-junkie – $5
  • Dropbox – $30
  • Design and techie help – $250
  • Vonage (worldwide) – $30
  • Cell Phone – $100
  • Internet – $95
  • Amazon S3 (off site data storage) – $5
  • Ongoing training, books etc – $100

You will notice that practice insurance is not on that list and that’s because I let mine lapse two years ago without realizing it and only noticed when somebody on the last trial course asked me who I used!

I think insurance is very much a personal call. If you are having people come into your home, then I think it’s sensible to be covered. On the other hand if your clients are dotted all over the country and world like mine are, then I’m not so sure.

And the reason I’m not sure, is simply because Life Coaching isn’t regulated. Therefore, unless you do something very silly (delving into therapy for example and causing trauma) or very inappropriate (use your own imagination) then I think the likelihood of you needing it are very slim.

Whereas a client may not have been pleased with your coaching (and that will happen on rare occasions) you almost certainly won’t haven’t done anything illegal.

The monthly total above comes to just over $1,000 per month, or $12k per annum. That’s not a lot by most business standards, but when you consider that 90% of Life Coaches earn less than $20k per annum it takes on a much bigger role.

I do think a new coach could start up needing about half that per month to begin with, but I’d be hesitant to budget any lower because there are always unexpected expenses and one off costs to take into consideration.

3 Crucial Questions To Ask Yourself

So the questions to ask yourself if you are considering becoming a Life Coach are these:

How badly do I want it and am I prepared to put in the hard work at the front end?
Can I survive a year or two on a very low level of income as I build the business?
Can I afford the running costs needed to make sure I look like I’m a professional?

Google+ Community

A massive apology to those of you that joined the G+ community only for me to then kick you out. Feedback from a questionnaire I ran for people who have taken the course indicated a strong desire to have a private group where they could interact with one another.

As I already have numerous Facebook pages and another G+ community I really didn’t want to have to start yet another one and that was my reason.

From now on it will only be open to course attendees or coaches who have hired me on a one-to-one basis. I hope you understand and will forgive my short-sightedness when I set it up.

Image: ‘Money’ Courtesy of Paul Falardeau

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11 thoughts on “Can You Afford To Be A Life Coach?”

  1. That was a valuable post Tim. I’ve taken great discomfort from knowing how hard this will be. But I’d rather have the reality than the fiction any day. Hasn’t changed my mind any 🙂

  2. Thank you for this post, it was exactly what I needed to see to ground me in my pursuit of becoming a life coach. I will agree, many training companies do seem to cater to pie in the sky notions of “oh, I can get a little training and make stupid money”. I know that they are in the business to make money, but for many folks (including myself at first)all it will do is set someone up for failure. I am dragging my feet a bit before I make the jump, but I really want to get all the info I can so I can lessen my mistakes along the way. Tim, you have been most helpful in helping me narrow down my choices as well as fuel my excitement for helping others. Thanks again, and keep it coming 🙂

    • You’re welcome and dragging your feet could be viewed as doing due diligence and making sure you have as much info as possible, so good for you!

  3. Thanks for laying out the costs. It’s no longer a big mystery. Knowledge is power. I so appreciate your willingness to be open.

    I don’t agree that in order to be ethical coaching schools need to vet attendees and let them know that they are in for a lot of hard work. First, lots of coaches don’t have the degree of inspiration required to overcome the roadblock of hard work until they receive a fair amount of coach training. This was definitely true for me; the power of coaching revealed itself over time. Second, lots of coaches take training in order to coach within their organization so they have no need to build a business. Third, my training school markets coaching as a way to make a difference in the world. None of the marketing deals with making piles of money.
    Personally, I question the ethics of the schools who require you to pay for the entire training up front (big $) with no way to sample the training or to back out once the dollars are paid.
    In the school I attended, the first module is priced fairly low and gives you the basics of coaching at a moderate cost. You can then test the waters of the business of coaching. Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, several other modules are available to enhance your skills. The trainers bend over backwards to ensure students get what they need/want from the training. In fact, while I would like a number of things to have been different in my training, I can’t imagine a more ethical school.
    It’s interesting how protective I am feeling about my school. It doesn’t feel as though I am defending my decision/choice. It really is about how serious this type of allegation is to me and how it simply doesn’t match with my view of my school. Perhaps there are similar schools out there.

    • Maybe vet was too strong a word, but there are plenty of training companies who use very high pressure sales tactics and obscure the truth of how difficult it is to succeed.

      There are 500 schools or thereabouts and of course some are good and ethical, and yours may be one of them. Having said that when people invest a lot of money in something they will go to great lengths to justify that cost without realizing what they are doing. It’s just one of many cognitive biases.

  4. Thank you Tim, your post was really helpful to me to recognise the costs involved and also the time to set up and succeed. I am getting there slowly and am determined to ‘make it’, whilst being realistic about the investment of my time and money and expected returns.
    Sad to lose the Google+ group membership, but thank you for letting me in and good luck with the up and coming course.

  5. Your biggest expenses are related to your website and Internet presence. What exactly is covered by the $250.00 per month for the SEO support and design help respectively? Those amounts seem high for someone like you who is very computer literate.

    • SEO is ongoing back end work that involves all sorts of things. Some I just don’t have the time to do, other stuff is beyond my scope. SEO is very time consuming and very skilled if it’s done well.

      Design can be anything from making changes to my website to ebooks to all sorts of other incidentals. That’s a rough estimate over a year as some months it may be nothing and others $1,000 if it’s something major.


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