Financial coaching. It's how I got my start in the world of side hustles.
I learned so much along the way, and I still do with those clients that I work with each week. Over the past few years, coaching has increased in popularity as a side hustle, and with this increased competition, the rules of the road have changed a little bit.
Today, I'm back to help you get started too.
Here is how to start a financial coaching business and thrive in 2023.
What is a financial coaching business?
A financial coaching business is a type of side hustle or business where a personal finance expert offers personalized guidance and support to individuals and businesses in need of help.
Financial coaching businesses routinely help clients from across the world to assess their financial situations, provide education where necessary, and help avoid costly mistakes.
This help can take one or more different forms, including:
Self-paced video modules
Live coaching calls
Homework and other accountability exercises between sessions
Worksheets and checklists
What does a financial coach do?
Financial coaches, oftentimes referred to as money coaches, may be best thought of as teachers. This role is very important in the financial planning process, along with all the other work coaches perform, including:
Financial habit building
And many more!
Of course, money coaches provide all of these services, and the services that you decide to offer may be as narrow or as broad as your business plan specifies. But as a coach, your job is to set your clients up for success by presenting them with their options and helping them to understand the pros and cons of each decision.
What does a financial coach not do?
Most financial coaches are not licensed and credentialed in the same way that other financial professionals are required to be. This lack of credentials does impact what coaches can and cannot do.
For example, it is a good idea to steer clear of providing anything that could be construed as financial or investment advice. This means that concepts such as tax situations, investment selection, asset allocation, and similar topics are off limits.
Generally, you can cover these topics in principle, but you should always stay clear of trying to influence decision making. Rather, you should aim to present your clients what options they may have, along with the potential pros and cons of each decision. Always remember to remind your clients that they can seek out an investment or tax professional for more specific help.
It can be a good way to stay clear and avoid any potential lawsuits.
How to start a financial coaching business
Getting your money coaching gig off the ground doesn't have to be difficult with this nine-step process:
Pick a coaching niche
Conduct market research
Become an expert
Establish your business
Write a business plan
Build your service/program
Build your supplementary materials out
Market your program
1. Pick a coaching niche
As a financial coach, you'll need to pick a niche to serve and fill as your bread and butter. You have so many options, as I mentioned a moment ago. You may think that narrowing your focus could hurt your business because you're limiting the size of your target market.
In reality, though, you're actually assuring that your prospective clients are a good fit for your program and coaching options.
When I was more active in one-to-one coaching, I worked heavily in budget creation and debt reduction.
2. Conduct market research
Whenever you start a financial coaching business or build any service to sell, you want to listen to your target customers to assure that you adequately answer for all of their pain points.
You can connect with others live, or you can publish and send out surveys using sites like Qualtrics, but I think getting live feedback, even via Zoom, is more valuable.
You'll gain more comfort with market research interviews as time goes on, but you'll want to get answers to all of these questions:
What are your biggest problems/pain points about (your niche)?
How much of a pain are these problems?
Would you pay for a solution?
If so, how much would you pay for this solution?
How would you like this program to be structured?
These questions are a good starting point, but you'll also want to ask/record demographic questions to help pinpoint your target client base.
You can find a whole host of other questions online too.
3. Become an expert
If you're going to be working with clients on nuanced financial topics, you're going to want to make sure you're an expert in the field. Industry reading and studying are a great place to start if you didn't study finance in college, but you'll want to learn the nuances and finer details too.
Online courses can be a great start, and as you learn, you may opt to build some sort of coaching program to address any common pain points in the niche you're entering.
Let's take my Side Hustle Accelerator program, for instance. I became an expert on building alternate income streams, and my program now centers around the pain points others feel when trying to build side hustles, like:
How to find time
Overcoming exhaustion and frustration
How to scale them
Oftentimes, the pain points you help solve are blockers to success for others and why your target clients will pay for help finding a solution.
You may also pursue some sort of formal education or industry designation, though this isn't mandatory.
Oftentimes in this space, social proof is plenty. Past client testimonials are hugely influential, but I'll dig more into this when we talk marketing strategies.
4. Formally establish your business
I like to encourage my readers and my course/coaching clients to formally and legally register a business. It is cheap, the right thing to do, and it helps keep you compliant with any rules or regulation in your state, county, and/or city/town.
Establishing your business requires a few different steps, like:
Obtain permits and/or licenses
Open a business bank account
Build a way to process payments
5. Write a business plan
Before you go any further establishing your financial coaching business, you're going to need to write a well-researched business plan. Your business plan will be the guiding document that you turn to whenever you need to make a business decision.
There are many great business plan templates for free online, but you should assure that yours has the following sections at a minimum:
Who your target audience is
How you plan to reach your target audience
Exactly what services you plan to offer
A SWOT analysis that outlines your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
Financial projections for the next three years
Market research is the best thing you can do here to build an effective business plan.
6. Build your service/program
Now that you've identified how you're going to make money in your business plan, it is time to build out the program that you're going to bring your clients through.
I believe that a combination of video modules and live coaching calls works well, with some homework worksheets, PDFs, and other exercises mixed in.
Ultimately, your market research should guide you here, as you'll need to decide:
The length of your modules and program
The number and length of coaching calls
What type of homework and exercises will be effective
ChatGPT can be an excellent resource here. Try using it to suggest a structure or cadence based on your modules and program.
7. Built supplementary materials
Many coaching businesses out there offer supplemental materials as a value-added service and marketing ploy.
It has become somewhat mainstream to offer these materials, but they don't need to be a time drain for you to build. Again, based on the coaching program that you've built, ChatGPT can help recommend ancillary topics that could be of value to your clients.
Re-referencing your market research or doing new market research can also help out there.
Again, this isn't mandatory, and many coaching programs and online courses offer 30- or 60-day money back guarantees in lieu of these bonus materials.
8. Market your program
With your market research complete and money coaching business built, it is time to focus on marketing your program with the intent of signing clients.
There is no shortage of marketing strategies that you can use, including:
Buying Facebook, TikTok, or LinkedIn advertisements
Practicing good web SEO on your website
Generating leads through your email/SMS list
In time, you'll probably want to focus on multiple marketing channels, but to start, one strategy may be better given your time constraints.
9. Impress your clients
In time, your marketing efforts will pay off, and you'll be successful in signing clients. Once you do have clients, your goals change a little. You'll need to do whatever you can to impress your clients and help them solve the problems they hired you for help with.
Tips to grow your financial coaching business
Here are a number of tips to help you attract more money-making clients.
1. You need to have a platform
Most coaching businesses use social media tools like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn effectively. After all, they are great tools for locating and signing your target clients.
But I like to encourage side hustlers to not just depend on social media, as traffic and attention can be temperamental.
It is a huge part of my SIde Hustle Accelerator program. Without a platform and regular, engaged followers, attracting your target clients in your niche gets much more difficult.
2. Build email/SMS messaging lists
Once you've got a platform that regularly attracts visitors, you're going to want to build out email and text marketing lists.
Email and text marketing is the lifeblood of my business. It is the easiest way to assure that you'll get repeat traffic back to your website or profile, from viewers that already know you and have expressed interest in your content.
To maintain compliance with United States and international law, just make sure you include opt out options for those who no longer want to be contacted.
If personal finance is a strength for you, then starting a money coaching business can be an excellent way for you to grow your income on the side. Plus, it just may be the start of a business.
Would you ever consider starting a financial coaching business? Tell me why or why not in the comments below.
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