Every great coach was once a player with skin in the game, and financial coaches are no different than the NBA or NFL or, well, you get the picture. Players become coaches when they know they can do things better and want to help others improve. The Olympics lists 10 attributes of a coach, from understanding and sharing to motivating and communicating. You probably already have these skills; otherwise, you wouldn’t be here reading this.
Financial coaching helps people take control of their personal finances and grants them the freedom to thrive in their lives rather than just survive. Here’s how you can start a financial coaching business and help others too.
Note: There’s no set order to these steps. Your business is, well, yours. Find a message and market value that works for you and implement it authentically.
Know Your Why
The first step to creating lasting change is knowing your why. Realizing your reason for this new venture will carry your passion to purpose. Your why can come from any place.
Your why can come from being an accountant during the week and a soccer coach on the weekend who’s tired of working for a superior who doesn’t fully understand the intricacies of financial advising. Starting a financial coaching business can come from struggling with money troubles of your own and overcoming them, and now you want to help others do the same.
Entrepreneur suggests reverse engineering your ideal business. Visualize the attributes of your dream life and work backward to find the steps needed to achieve that. Regardless of where this purpose stems from, know where it’s going and start growing.
From Experience to Expert
If you’re not already the numbers guru, it’s time to get serious. Starting a financial coaching business is as much about the coaching element as the money aspect. There are a plethora of resources out there for becoming a coach (like, literally, a quick Google search will populate hundreds of training courses), but nothing gives social validation like experience.
Skills are helpful if you’re just starting, but gain as much knowledge as you’re able about your finance niche. And then, market the heck out of it. Becoming certified in a certain field of finances can set you apart from the competition. The AFPCE offers the AFC, or Accredited Financial Counselor Certification, the gold standard for educating others on their finances. The AFPCE is an NCCA, National Commission for Certified Agencies, accredited program, so it’s legit. And they offer training courses if you’re not quite ready for certification.
Imagine Your Ideal Client
To grow your business, you have to have clients willing to help you as much as you want to help them. Define your target audience by imaging your ideal client. Know who you want to help. Get specific. Visualize them in your mind. Will your coaching business cater to only homeowners looking to refinance? Millennials working toward buying a home? What about the elderly workforce preparing for retirement? Select a niche you’re excited about, and specialize in it.
In a report published by Intuit in 2020, it’s projected that customers will control the relationship with businesses. Instead of pushing products onto customers, customers will search out what they want and find businesses that meet their needs. Starting a financial coaching business is entirely about the clients you’re coaching. Make sure you know them, their challenges, and how to overcome their problems.
Naming and Branding
Once you know your ideal client, create a name for your business. A business name has to be several things: a billboard for your brand, a synopsis of your services, and a catchphrase that turns customers’ heads. Spend some time mulling this over. Remember your why and your ideal client. The right name will resonate with you when you land on it. Your financial coaching business name should be clear about your message and the value you provide.
The market might look crowded or oversaturated with various small businesses, but diversity is how your clients find you. And if you need help, phone a friend for some ideas. Just be sure to check online to see if it’s already taken. So remember your why, find what makes your business unique, and plaster the walls with it.
Set Up Shop
Whether they be virtual or physical spaces, your brand is everywhere. This space is yours. Make it your own. The workplace is shifting from brick-and-mortar offices to the cloud. Employees and freelancers are working remotely more than ever before. Creating a website is essential to running a financial coaching business. This allows you to connect with clients and meet with them on a flexible schedule.
Be sure to open accounts with online banking applications like PayPal or Square so you can accept various forms of payment. Just be aware of any fees and calculate that into your bookkeeping system.
Or, if you prefer the homegrown feel, you can set up shop at a physical location and cater to the players in town. This will also allow you to keep your ear to the ground and know the intricacies of the community, politics, and other concerns they may bring to the table.
Whatever shop set-up you choose, just make sure it’s accessible. Be your true self. Your financial business is striving for a genuine connection with your clients. They will find you. You just have to show up.
It’s Money, Honey
Ironically enough, setting up your financial accounts for your financial coaching business is probably the most boring aspect of launching your business. Or maybe it’ll be your favorite. Who knows? Regardless of your views of the back-end admin work, establishing proper bookkeeping from the get-go is your safest bet to see a profit and save yourself the headache during tax season.
Open a separate banking account to keep your personal and business life’s cash flow unrelated, even if they definitely are. Stewart Swayze recommends setting up a few automated actions on your bank accounts so as soon as you receive any form of payment, a percentage is immediately transferred to a personal savings account in addition to the cut allocated into a dedicated tax account.
You’ll also need to build up your cash reserves for the unavoidable ebb and flow of the market. And you can’t forget about allocating a percentage to your insurance and retirement benefits. Any remaining funds go to your salary. Remember: you’re an employee too. Be sure to keep records of your start-up expenses so you can write them off later.
You Are the Product
If you’re worried about generating revenue without a product, chillax. Your guidance is the product. Your brain is the product. You are a well of financial knowledge that just needs to be hauled to the surface for all to enjoy.
With that ideal client in mind, consider coaching packages with various levels of financial guidance for a certain amount. The more guidance, the higher the fee. Other product options may include offering self-taught courses or exclusive live broadcasts.
Finding people willing to pay is half the battle, and keeping them coming back for more is the test of a true business person. If potential clients aren’t willing to pay, find out why and shift your focus to catering to what they need. Your coaching business is an answer to their problems. You’re the solution. Learn what they need and give that to them.
Give, Don’t Get
If the phrase “marketing strategies” makes you want to run for the hills, just think of it as an action plan to reach your clients. Your master plan needs to align with your brand. If you cater toward coaching senior citizens about their finances, it’s probably not a good idea to market yourself on TikTok. It is, however, a good idea to gain traction on TikTok if you’re looking to coach college students or budding young adults.
Your marketing strategy ties back to your ideal client. Conduct some boots on the ground work and learn where your clients congregate. Some ideas of this include:
- Read the same articles
- Follow the same accounts
- Know their concerns, humor, and the political climate they’re facing
Scarcity mindsets are a thing of the past. Market yourself with an abundance of wealth to share. This can come in the form of creating spreadsheets and offering a free download on your website or a calendar customers can take home for just stopping by.
If you don’t enjoy participating in social media, don’t. Build your email newsletter mailing list by blogging and SEO copywriting. If you prefer face-to-face interactions, go to a trade show, or partner with charities and local events. The more value you give, the more clients will give in return.
The key to building a following is consistency. Just like how players show up and their muscles grow, your coaching business will increase the more you connect with your target audience. Don’t think too much about it. Just start and adjust your sails as you go.