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What is a Career Coaching Business?
A career coach works with individuals on a one-on-one basis to help them reach their career goals, maximise their opportunities and fulfil their potential. A career coach can be involved in any stage of a person’s career, from job searchers and newly qualified individuals to professionals who are already high up on the career ladder.
Career coaching is a type of personal and professional coaching that helps your clients find fulfilment in their careers, through setting goals, creating ideas and strategies and overcoming obstacles.
Career coaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all business. Because each individual client or organisation has a different career journey and different career goals, they will each require personalised support and different assistance.
A career coaching business can, therefore, have a huge number of responsibilities, including:
- Building the skills and capabilities to improve a client’s job searching skills, including interview practice and writing a CV and cover letter.
- Advising clients on their career trajectories and career goals.
- Helping clients to identify the career or industry that interests them or that they are likely to succeed in, for example, through career, personality and strength evaluations.
- Helping clients to identify their career goals and any potential obstacles and how to overcome these.
- Coaching clients on how to negotiate for higher pay, flexible working hours or different responsibilities.
- Identifying the most relevant and most attractive aspects of a client’s education, experience and skills and marketing these in the best possible way.
- Helping both organisations and individual clients to navigate career and business development.
- Navigating career transitions and changes.
- Providing general and specific career advice.
- Helping to set short-term and long-term career goals.
- Assisting in the job search process.
- Identifying new strategies to enhance career development.
- Exploring different ways to upskill or reskill in a current job or industry.
- Creating better work-life balance and increasing job satisfaction.
- Developing networking techniques.
A career coach can help employees find a new job, career or industry, upskill or reskill within their current organisation or industry or start a new career path.
You may be an expert in a particular industry and work with clients within that industry (or who are hoping to enter that industry) or focus on general job recruitment. As a career coach, you will act as your clients’ coach, adviser, consultant, counsellor, encourager and cheerleader. You will work with your clients to help them identify their work interests, skills, motivators and values and achieve their career-related goals.
Your career coach business should focus on providing your clients with:
- Objective, unbiased professional advice, support and feedback.
- Focus – on their career goals and the best way to achieve them.
For your career coaching business to succeed, you will need to be an expert in career planning, CV building, interviewing and negotiating. To make your business successful, it may be beneficial to focus on a specific industry or niche or to focus on a specific skill, such as:
- Career exploration: This involves helping your clients learn about a variety of careers and industries and focuses on how each client’s specific skills, qualifications, interests and values can fit with specific careers.
- Developing CVs and cover letters: This ensures your clients are fully prepared and are marketing themselves to their full potential. A CV and cover letter are the first impression a potential employer has of your clients and by coaching your clients in this area, you can improve their success rate in achieving an interview.
- Job searching: This type of coaching helps your clients to make a change in their career, overcome any obstacles and develop their professional skills. This type of coaching overlaps with career exploration and developing CVs and cover letters, with some career coaches choosing to specialise in all three.
- Career development: This involves assisting your clients in their personal and professional development to help them better identify and develop their skills and make better career choices. It includes choosing a career, improving their skills and advancing along their chosen career path.
- The interview process: This involves helping your clients to build their confidence and become more competent and engaging interviewees. You could practise interview questions, work on their presentation and speaking skills, analyse their verbal and non-verbal behaviour, give feedback and work on their brand.
- Salary negotiations: Negotiating their salary is something that many people find difficult. Teaching clients how to recognise their professional worth and negotiate a fair salary, in a respectful and professional way, can be very rewarding. You could also help your clients negotiate other aspects of their employment package, such as the number of holiday days, their benefits, their flexibility and their professional development.
- Promotions: This type of career coach usually involves working within organisations to evaluate potential candidates for promotion or leadership positions and providing training, development and coaching to prepare them for more senior roles.
- Team development: Team career coaches usually work with a manager or team leader and members of the team. You can help the team to set objectives and realise their goals. You can also analyse individual and team performance, create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), assess progress and set project timelines to help the team to succeed.
There are several ways you can choose to run your career coaching business:
- Online career coaching.
- In-person career coaching, usually in your clients’ chosen location (such as their home, workplace or a café).
- In-person career coaching from your business location (e.g. your home office or business premises).
- Hybrid career coaching, where your clients can choose between online and in-person coaching.
You can operate as the sole career coach or choose to hire other career coaches in different specialities and industries.
If you are thinking of starting up a career coaching business, you will need to ensure you have the relevant qualifications, skills and experience. Certain skills and qualities can be particularly beneficial in helping you succeed in this role, including leadership skills, the ability to analyse your clients’ situations, strong communication skills, the ability to research and evaluate and strong decision-making. If you think you have the necessary requirements to succeed as a career coach, starting up a career coaching business can be both personally and financially rewarding.
Types of Customers
Determining the types of customers your online coaching business is likely to appeal to is an important step when planning and setting up your business. Being aware of your typical client base can help you to plan your advertising and marketing strategies, focus your business and maximise your profits.
Multiple factors can determine your typical client base, including:
The type of career coaching you offer
Customers will likely be looking for a specific type of career coach, for example, to help them with their interviewing skills or career development. The type of career coaching you offer will, therefore, be a major indicator of your typical client base. It could also be that you choose to specialise in a specific industry, such as marketing or accounting. Consider your skills, experience and knowledge when deciding the type of career coaching you will offer.
Whether your coaching takes place online or in person
If you only offer in-person coaching, your typical customer base is likely to be made up of people who are local to you. Unless you are located in a large city, such as London, this is likely to limit your potential client base. With the advancement of technology and online meeting sites and video chat, many coaching businesses are now offering virtual meetings, allowing them to coach people from all over the UK. Because some clients still prefer face-to-face meetings, it may be beneficial to offer both options.
Your skills, experience and qualifications
The more highly qualified you are and the higher your level of expertise, the more in-demand your services are likely to be and the more money you are able to charge. If you have a high level of expertise and experience in a specific area of career coaching or are a highly experienced career coach who has worked in the industry for many years, you are more likely to attract clients who are highly qualified professionals looking to advance their careers further. This type of client is more likely to pay higher prices, compared to newly qualified individuals who may be looking for lower-priced coaching.
Clients can typically be separated into three pricing categories:
- Budget: These clients are looking for the lowest-priced coaches and are usually happy to accept a less detailed service. Price will be an integral factor when they are searching for a career coach.
- Mid-range: These clients are looking for a combination of quality and affordability. Although price is important to them, it is not the most significant factor.
- High-end: These clients are willing to pay higher prices for the highest qualified, most experienced career coaches. They will likely want a more intense and detailed level of coaching.
How established your business is and your business reputation
Your business reputation is an important factor in attracting clients to your business. If you have successfully worked with individual clients and organisations within a given industry, they may recommend you to other people within their industry. Many clients also look at reviews that have been left by previous customers.
Your branding, advertising and marketing strategy
Your marketing and advertising strategies will have a significant impact on the types of clients you attract. Consider how your marketing is likely to be seen by specific types of clients and how your advertising strategies can appeal to these clients. For example, advertising on LinkedIn may attract different clients than advertising at your local job centre.
Equipment You Will Need
Your equipment is an essential requirement, as without it you will not be able to operate your business. There are many different types of equipment you may need, with significantly different specifications. This means that equipment can vary drastically in price.
Many career coaching businesses operate remotely, without business premises. You may offer online meetings and video coaching or visit your clients directly. Because you will likely not have business premises, this can significantly reduce the amount of equipment you require. You may also already have some of the equipment you require to operate your business. However, you must ensure any equipment you use is reliable and in good working condition.
Below is a list of equipment typically required by a career coaching business:
A reliable laptop or desktop computer
You will need a high-specification, reliable laptop or computer that can handle the amount of time you will be using it each day. If you plan to work from different locations or visit your clients in their homes, workplaces or another location, you will need a laptop, rather than a desktop. Your laptop will be an important tool in your coaching business so ensuring it is compatible with a variety of software and online platforms is essential. Your laptop will also need an updated operating system.
An HD camera or webcam
Your laptop or computer may come with an already installed camera, alternatively, you may opt to purchase a separate webcam. A camera or webcam is an essential resource if you will be offering online meetings, as it allows your clients to see you and any resources you have prepared.
A headset with a microphone
If you do not use a headset with an attached microphone, the quality of your sound will be significantly impacted. Your computer microphone can pick up background noises, which can be distracting to your clients and can create an echoing sound which can interfere with your coaching. A headset with a microphone results in higher-quality sound for your clients and enables you to hear your meetings more effectively. You can opt for a wireless or wired headset.
Reliable and high-speed Wi-Fi
Because you will be running your business remotely, you will need to ensure your Wi-Fi is reliable and high-speed. Video calls and online research require a strong and consistent connection, and you must ensure your Wi-Fi doesn’t cut out in the middle of a meeting. You will also need Wi-Fi to conduct research, prepare your meetings and run your website. Ensure your Wi-Fi has a minimum connection speed of 20 megabytes per second (Mbps).
A website is a way for potential clients to see your skills, experience and areas of expertise. Your website can act as your online CV and portfolio, showcasing some of your success stories or with information about your previous clients or projects. Ensure your website includes your contact information so potential clients can connect with you. You should also include an about page, a contact page, a blog and testimonials.
A secure storage system
You will likely amass a lot of resources that can be utilised again with multiple clients, for example, practice interview questions and career, personality and strengths tests and evaluations. If your laptop breaks or contracts a virus, you may lose everything you have stored on your device. Investing in secure Cloud storage that is password protected and encrypted ensures everything is backed up and protected in the event of a technological issue.
A Microsoft Office subscription
You can utilise Microsoft Office for a variety of tasks, such as preparing PowerPoint presentations and documents for your clients and accessing Teams or OneDrive. You can also share documents with your clients through Microsoft, making it easier to communicate without having to schedule a meeting.
An email service
Setting up your own email service using your own domain may be beneficial as your business grows. A business domain can make your business seem more professional and official. Using a public email domain such as @google or @hotmail can look less professional compared to using your own business domain, for example, email@example.com. You will need to make sure your email service is fully secure and encrypted and abides by email security policies in the UK.
You will likely need to issue invoices to your clients and keep them for your own records (and for when you submit your taxes). Digital invoice software allows you to create electronic invoices, send them to your clients and store them safely.
A business phone
A smartphone can be used for keeping in contact with your clients, having constant access to your emails and even conducting research on the go. Having a business phone also helps to keep your business separate from your personal life.
A flip chart
This is a piece of equipment you can utilise if you are doing in-person meetings, particularly if you are presenting to a large group (such as team career coaching). A flip chart is a large pad of paper that attaches to the upper edge of a whiteboard or is supported by a tripod or easel.
Whiteboard with pens
This is another useful piece of equipment if you are presenting to a larger group of people. You can opt for a larger whiteboard that you can use for presenting purposes or smaller, individual whiteboards that you can hand out to the people you are coaching to encourage their participation.
Several pieces of stationery can be beneficial to your business and can make it easier for you to make notes and plan meetings.
Some stationery you can purchase includes:
- Pens and pencils.
- Paper and notepads.
- A diary and/or calendar.
- Post-it notes.
Business cards are an important marketing tool and can be given to new or existing clients. Your business cards should include your business name, contact information, location and the types of services you offer.
Some of the other equipment you may require if you run your career coaching business remotely includes:
- A laptop stand.
- A larger desktop monitor.
- Noise-cancelling headphones.
- A printer, scanner and fax machine.
- A paper shredder.
- Appropriate lighting.
- A transportable document holder.
You may choose to set up an at-home office to meet with clients or to work from yourself. Investing in high-quality, comfortable furniture can help to protect you from strain or injury. Ensure the furniture is an appropriate height and doesn’t require you to strain your neck or back. Your minimum furniture requirements will be a desk and ergonomic office chair, although you may also opt for additional furniture, such as secure filing cabinets and bookshelves.
When planning your career coaching business, an important consideration you will need to make is your expected start-up costs and running costs. Calculating your expected costs allows you to determine your initial investment requirements, your pricing strategy and your profit goals.
There are multiple costs associated with setting up and running a career coaching business. Some of these costs will be one-off initial costs that you will need to pay when you are setting up your business. Other costs will be ongoing costs you will need to pay regularly – usually weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.
Some of the typical costs you can expect are:
Your equipment is an essential purchase, as without it you will not be able to operate your business. You may have some of the equipment already, such as a laptop, and as long as it is reliable and in good working condition, this can allow you to purchase less equipment initially and expand or update your equipment as your business grows. The cost of your equipment can vary significantly, depending on the specification of your equipment. Equipment for a career coaching business tends to cost between £500 and £5,000.
Monthly and annual equipment costs and subscriptions
Your monthly and annual subscription costs could include your Wi-Fi, website, email service and your secure storage. Depending on which subscriptions you require and the specifications of the ones you choose, you can expect to pay between £40 and £150 per month.
Your business website
This is an essential tool for running your business, as it acts as an advertising and marketing strategy, allowing potential clients to find your business. You may also offer a variety of resources through your website. Your website should be functional, easy to use, attractive and search engine optimised, to ensure it ranks highly on search engines, such as Google. Your website will need regular monitoring, updating and upgrading. You also need to make sure your website is secure, particularly if you will be collecting any customer information or banking details. You may choose to set up and run your website yourself or hire someone to do this for you. You can expect to pay between £20 and £100 per hour for someone to set up and run your website.
Maintaining, repairing and replacing equipment
Repairs, maintenance and replacements are ongoing costs you will need to factor into your budget. Although some of your equipment will come with warranties and guarantees, repairs and replacements are inevitable – particularly because your equipment will be used regularly. Some equipment will also need to be updated or replaced as new technology is released. Using the equipment correctly and performing regular maintenance and updates can extend its lifespan, but potential repairs and replacements and the finances needed for updating your equipment should still be factored into your budget.
You may choose to run a business where you are the sole career coach or hire other coaches. You may choose to hire coaches on a freelance basis, meaning they pay you a set fee per month or you take a percentage of their earnings. However, if you hire them on a permanent basis, you will need to pay them at least the national minimum wage of £9.50 per hour and account for other expenses such as holiday pay, sick pay and maternity/paternity pay.
A physical location
If you decide to set up physical premises for your business, this will likely be your biggest expenditure. You will likely need to rent your premises on a monthly or yearly basis. Rental prices can vary significantly, depending on the location, the size of the premises and the on-site facilities. City centre locations and newly built premises usually have the highest rental costs. Rental costs are often calculated per square metre. They can range significantly, from £500 to £15,000 per square metre annually.
Branding is an essential expenditure for your business. It can help you to establish your business’s identity and set you apart from your competition. Branding could include creating your business’s visual identity, a logo and your business name, and creating your business website. You can hire a professional to help you with branding or do some of the work yourself. Branding can cost between £500 and £10,000, depending on the amount of branding you require.
Advertising and marketing
To ensure your career coaching business attracts customers and creates maximum profits, you will need to invest in advertising and marketing. It is recommended that you spend between 1%-3% of your annual turnover on marketing. For example, if your annual turnover (or your desired annual turnover) is £80,000, you should spend between £800 and £2,400 on advertising and marketing. You may need to invest more money when you initially set up your business or when you are trying to grow your business.
Insurance is recommended to help protect your business, your equipment and your clients. Online businesses can be vulnerable to hacking. Insurance can also protect you if there is an issue with your equipment or if a client fails to pay you.
Some insurance coverage you could opt for includes:
- Public Liability Insurance.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance.
- Employers’ Liability Insurance (if relevant).
- Personal Accident Insurance.
- Equipment Cover.
- Portable Equipment Cover.
- Cyber and Data Risk Insurance.
- Business Interruption Cover.
Insurance prices can vary significantly, depending on your insurance provider and the level of coverage you require. Prices typically start at £10 per month.
Typical Pricing Customers
Once you have calculated the typical costs associated with setting up and running a career coaching business, you can then determine your pricing policy.
Some factors that could influence your pricing strategy are:
- The type of career coaching you offer.
- The industry you specialise in.
- Your qualifications, experience and level of expertise.
- Your location.
- Whether you offer in-person or online coaching.
Safely Running a Career Coaching Business
Safe practices in your career coaching business can help to protect you, your employees (if relevant), your clients and your business.
Some ways you can safely run your career coaching business are:
Obtain a career coaching qualification
Although qualifications and licences are not legally required, completing a career coaching training course can help you to accelerate your career as a coach, make you more attractive to potential clients and increase the success of your business. There are several qualifications available to you, including:
There are several qualifications available to you, including:
- Career Coaching MSc.
- Career Coaching Level 1, 2 or 3 Qualifications.
- The Qualification in Career Development (QCD).
- Career Coaching Diploma.
Create client contracts
Although contracts are not a legal requirement, creating a legally enforceable contract with your clients ensures that any terms are laid out straight away and both parties are aware of any expectations and timeframes and the agreed-upon payment amount. Contracts also help to protect you in the event of a dispute and make your business appear more professional.
Use a secure payment system
This is a key way to protect your business and your profits. You must ensure all payments are completely secure and are made through secure and legitimate channels. This ensures none of your payments are lost or untrackable and reduces the likelihood that you will fall victim to fraud or theft. Secure payment systems can also help to protect your and your clients’ identities and other personal information.
Secure your Wi-Fi network
Because you will be connecting with your clients using your Wi-Fi network, securing your network is recommended. It is not recommended that you set up your Wi-Fi and use the pre-given password. Instead, choose your own secure password and ensure your Wi-Fi network is encrypted to prevent anyone from accessing or hacking it. This is particularly important if you are using your Wi-Fi network to access client information or to send them documents.
Install anti-virus software
Anti-virus software can detect and remove malicious codes and intrusions on your computer or laptop. This can protect you and your business against viruses and malware. If your laptop becomes infected with a virus, this can cause irreparable damage to your equipment, can delete your computer’s data and cause you to lose money and business. A virus on your laptop could also be sent to your clients via email which could affect your business’s reputation. Anti-virus software should be installed on all of your devices and your Wi-Fi.
Obtain a criminal record check
If there is any possibility that you will be working with clients who may be considered vulnerable, such as clients under the age of 18 and clients with disabilities, a criminal record check is recommended. Although criminal record checks are not a legal requirement, they are highly recommended to protect the safety of your clients. It can also portray your business as being more professional.
The type of check you require depends on the country you live in:
- England: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
- Wales: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
- Scotland: Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme.
- Northern Ireland: AccessNI.
Properly maintain and set up equipment and ensure it is safe to use
Ensure all equipment is set up and used in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions and that safety standards are being met. This includes your office furniture, which should be safe and supportive to prevent injuries and strain. You should also ensure electronic items, plugs and chargers comply with all electrical safety regulations.
Carry out risk assessments
Although risk assessments are only a legal requirement for businesses with more than five employees, they are recommended to all businesses to ensure the safety of you, your staff and your customers. Risk assessments can help you to identify any potential hazards and risks in your business and how these can be reduced or eliminated.
As part of your risk assessment, you should:
- Identify hazards.
- Determine who could be at risk.
- Evaluate any potential risks.
- Implement relevant safety measures.
- Record the results of the risk assessment.
- Review the risk assessment regularly.
Complying with legal requirements is essential when setting up and running your business. Some of the legal issues you should be aware of in relation to career coaching are:
Comply with consumer protection legislation
This legislation exists to protect the rights of individuals and to prevent businesses from using unfair practices.
Consumer protection legislation you must ensure you comply with includes:
- You cannot make false claims about yourself or the service you provide.
- The service you provide must be up to the expected standard.
- Services must be performed with reasonable care and skill.
Comply with copyright laws
You automatically get copyright protection if you create any original literary content. Copyright prevents people from copying, distributing or making any adaptations to someone else’s work without permission. You must make sure that you don’t advertently or inadvertently copy anyone else’s work or use their work without permission. Ensure you gain any necessary permissions if you are using someone else’s resources or coaching materials to prevent you from infringing on copyright legislation.
Comply with invoice or receipt guidelines
You may make it standard that you send all of your clients an e-receipt or invoice once they make a payment to your business. Even if you don’t make it standard, some clients will request receipts or invoices.
You must include certain information in any invoices you create, such as:
- The word ‘invoice’ and a unique invoice number.
- Your business name and address.
- The client’s name and address.
- A brief description of your work.
- The total you are charging the client and when the payment is due.
- The payment method.
Ensure your website is disability friendly
Under the Equality Act (2010), all websites in the UK must be accessible to people with disabilities. If you set up a business website, you must make reasonable adjustments to your website to ensure it is accessible, for example, having text-only versions of each page so that they can be read by text converters.
Ensure your website complies with the guidelines
If you set up a career coaching website, there are several guidelines you need to comply with, including:
- Privacy policies.
- Cookie legislation.
- Service descriptions.
Comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA)
You must comply with both pieces of legislation when storing or sharing personal information, such as your clients’ personal information, contact details and banking information. You must also apply for a Notification to Process Personal Data Licence. If you process or store personal information such as personal details and banking information, you will need to apply for a licence with the Information Commissioner’s Office and renew your registration every year.
Comply with employment legislation
If you employ any career coaches on a permanent basis, you must ensure you follow employment legislation, including the Employment Rights Act (1996) and the National Minimum Wage Act (1998). You must also comply with legislation relating to recruitment, working hours, sickness, discrimination, dismissals, and maternity or paternity pay.
Although some types of insurance coverage are optional, Professional Indemnity Insurance is legally required. This protects you, your business and your clients from professional mistakes, negligence and breaches of confidentiality. If you see your clients face to face, you may also require Public Liability Insurance.
Register your business
Your business must be registered with HMRC before you begin operating. You can choose to register as a sole trader or as a limited company. You will also need to register your business name and any other relevant information.
Register for self-assessment tax
This allows you to calculate and pay your own taxes each year. You will need to track your finances every month and submit any expenses as part of your tax assessment.
As part of your tax responsibilities, you must:
- Record all forms of income and expenses.
- Complete an annual self-assessment tax return.
- Register for VAT if you earn above the threshold (currently £85,000).
- Pay National Insurance contributions.
- Keep a record of your business accounts for the previous five years.
If you open a business premises or you operate a home office, you may offer in-person meetings with your clients and allow them to visit your business location.
In this situation, you will have additional legal guidelines to follow such as:
Comply with fire regulations
If you run your business from an in-person location with employees or clients visiting your business, you must ensure fire safety measures are implemented on-site. There are multiple fire regulations you must ensure you comply with.
- Perform a fire risk assessment.
- Comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
- Implement any necessary fire safety measures.
- Implement emergency procedures and ensure these are clearly displayed on your premises.
Comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998
These regulations specify that any equipment you use in your business must be fit for purpose and maintained and inspected regularly. Health and safety risks should be minimised to an acceptable level and you must ensure that you have the correct knowledge and training to use the equipment and that protective measures are put into place. You must also ensure the equipment is used under appropriate conditions.
Comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989)
The Electricity at Work Regulations state that any workplaces that use electricals must construct electrical systems in a way that prevents danger, maintain electrical systems to ensure they are safe, ensure electrical equipment is checked by a competent person annually and conduct Portable Appliance Tests (PAT). This includes any electrical equipment such as computers, chargers and printers.
Comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act lays out the duties of all employers in the UK in relation to the health, safety and welfare of everyone in your workplace. As the business owner, you will be responsible for protecting the health and safety of your employees and any clients or visitors to your business.
Positives of Owning a Career Coaching Business
Running a career coaching business can be rewarding in many ways.
Some of the main pros associated with this type of business are:
Work from home
You will have the flexibility to work from home, work from a co-working space or another location of your choice. With more people than ever wanting to work from home, a career coaching business gives you the flexibility to run your business completely from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a good Wi-Fi connection and an area free from noise and distractions for when you need to meet with your clients. Working from home saves you from a potentially stressful and time-consuming commute and saves you money in premises costs.
Flexibility to create your own schedule
As the business owner, you will have the flexibility to choose your workload and the number of clients you take on at one time. You can choose your own working hours and even change your schedule from day to day and week to week. You could choose to take on more work at certain times and work less or not take on any work at other times. You can also take on as many or as few clients as you choose. This gives you a huge amount of freedom and flexibility.
High income potential
You can create your own pricing strategy, based on your experience, knowledge, area of expertise and reputation. You can also raise your rates periodically to reflect your increased experience and the cost of living. You have the potential to earn a high income while working flexibly. You can also grow your income further by hiring other career coaches to work for your business.
Be creative in your coaching
You will have complete creative control over your coaching style, methodologies, resources and the level of coaching you offer. You will have the opportunity to be creative and try many different methods until you find what works best for you and your clients. You can even change the way you coach for each client, offering a personalised service that will be beneficial to your customers and will also help to keep your work interesting.
High-quality technology, online platforms and software
Previously, career coaches were limited to offering face-to-face coaching. However, with the advancement of technology and online platforms, you can still offer your clients the same level of service, but in a much more convenient way. This can help to increase your business’s reach, increase your client base and grow your business.
The demand for career coaches remains consistently high. As many people want to progress in their careers or want to move into a more rewarding career that offers them a better work-life balance, career coaches find themselves busier than ever. Having a high demand for your services makes it more likely that your business will succeed.
Low start-up costs
A career coaching business is a low-investment venture. You will have very few equipment requirements and will not be responsible for paying for a commercial location. Low initial investment requirements will mean you won’t require any outside investment and can begin turning a profit earlier.
Pick and choose your clients
You will have complete control over choosing the clients you want to work with. If you think a particular client will not be a good fit or that your services will not be beneficial to them, you can decline to work with them. Additionally, if a prospective client approaches you but your books are already full and you have limited availability, you can decline them or offer to work with them in the future. You can make decisions based on what is best for you, your clients and your business.
Capitalise on your qualifications, experience, knowledge and interests
Because you can choose your speciality, you can opt to focus on a specific industry or area of career coaching that you are knowledgeable about and interested in. Not only will this make your work more interesting and enjoyable, but clients are also usually willing to pay extra if the coach has specific qualifications and experience in their field.
Opportunities for growth
As your business becomes more successful, you may hire other career coaches, allowing you to expand your client base and grow your business. Having more coaches allows you to expand your focus to a variety of different industries and types of career coaching. Because you work remotely, you can hire online coaches from all over the UK, without needing to increase your running costs. This allows you to maximise your profits.
You can connect with other people in your industry and create beneficial business connections. You could also work with many of the same clients or organisations for extended periods of time, creating strong business relationships. Connecting with other people in your industry who have the same interests as you can be rewarding in multiple ways.
If you create a positive working relationship with your clients and successfully help them with their careers, they recommend you to their friends, colleagues and other people in their industry. This can help to develop your client base, grow your business and increase your income.
Gain exposure and experience
Building an impressive portfolio, working successfully with multiple clients and organisations and having good reviews from previous clients will result in you gaining exposure and attracting more clients. Higher-paying clients are more likely to work with career coaches that have established success or have a strong online presence. You can gain exposure and become well-known within your chosen industry or industries.
Be your own boss
Being your own boss gives you the opportunity to control the growth of your business, manage your own time, and gain more self-confidence and job satisfaction. Owning your own career coaching business also means that all your profits will belong to you, and you will be in control of creating your ideal business.
Design your dream business
As the business owner, you can create your dream business, from the type of career coaching you do, to the industry you work in, the clients you choose, your business’s brand and aesthetic and how you operate your business. Creating your dream business can be very rewarding.
Negatives of Owning a Career Coaching Business
Although setting up a career coaching business can be beneficial in many ways, there are some negative aspects to this type of business that you should be aware of.
Relying on the internet
If you choose to offer online appointments and virtual career coaching, the internet is an essential tool in helping you run your business successfully. If your Wi-Fi cuts out suddenly during a meeting or you are unable to connect at the specified time, your clients may begin to view you as unreliable or unprofessional. Connectivity issues could also prevent you from doing the necessary research and effectively preparing for your meetings. Connectivity issues are often outside of your control and this can be extremely frustrating, and have a negative impact on your customer reviews and your business.
It can be physically demanding
Many people think this type of career is easy and results in no physical stress, as you will be sitting down for much of the day.
However, several physical concerns could be attached to this type of job, for example:
- Eye strain.
- Back and neck pain and strain.
- Musculoskeletal pain and strain.
- Reduced cardiovascular fitness.
It can be difficult to grow your client base
Many clients choose a career coach that has been recommended to them or has a strong reputation and good reviews. This can make it difficult to grow your client base, particularly because there are already a lot of well-established online coaches operating. Difficulties in growing your client base will result in a reduced income and could affect your ability to continue pursuing online coaching.
It can be time-consuming
Your working time will not be limited to the time you spend meeting clients. Instead, you will have a lot of research to do, materials to gather, training to prepare and preparation to do. Because you will be helping each client in different ways, each meeting will require different types of preparation. This can be extremely time-consuming and can reduce the amount of available time you have to meet clients.
Business can be inconsistent
You may have times when your books are full and you are working with multiple clients at once and other times when you have a smaller client base and lots of available time. It can be difficult to plan your finances, predict your profits and decide your working hours when your business is inconsistent. There could be times when you are less busy and this can have a significant impact on your profits.
Some clients can be difficult and demanding and have unrealistic expectations of you. For example, they may expect you to help them secure their dream job and complain and review you negatively if this doesn’t happen, even though they only hired you to help them with their CV and cover letter. Trying to deal with this type of client can be stressful and time-consuming and can have a negative effect on your business.
It can be stressful
You will have a lot of responsibilities, including meeting with clients, researching, planning and preparing, marketing and advertising and the tasks associated with the day-to-day running of your business. This can be stress-inducing, particularly when you are trying to grow your business. You will also have the additional stress of ensuring your business succeeds.
It can be isolating
If you operate as an online career coach, you will spend the majority of your working time alone. You will have no or very little face-to-face contact with other people and even if you have employees, they will likely also work remotely. It also involves frequently sitting in front of your laptop alone and this can be lonely and make it difficult to motivate yourself.
Constant education and research are required
Even if you coach in an industry you are familiar with or work on skills you are highly experienced in, you will still need to conduct extensive research and stay up to date with methodologies, regulations and industry information. Failing to keep up to date can result in your clients not succeeding, which can be detrimental to your business.
Although the majority of clients leave honest reviews, some customers are difficult to please and will leave a negative review because of the smallest complaint (even if it is something outside of your control, such as a job they applied for hired internally). Sometimes a fake customer also leaves a fake review, which can be extremely difficult to disprove and remove. Negative reviews can be extremely damaging to your business, particularly if your business is new or you’ve had relatively few reviews.
As you are self-employed, you won’t receive benefits such as pension contributions. You will also be responsible for doing your own taxes and organising your National Insurance contributions. You will also have a lack of job security.
Your business could fail
Starting up your own business can be risky. Many new businesses fail which could result in you losing money or getting into debt. Your business could fail for several reasons, such as high local competition, an ineffective business plan or if there is another recession or a period of financial difficulty.
Planning Your Career Coaching Business
An effective and well-designed business plan is essential to the success of your career coaching business. A business plan can help you to focus on the specific steps that will help your business succeed, plan your short-term and long-term goals, determine your financial needs and help your business to grow.
When creating your business plan, ensure it contains information such as:
- Your company information.
- Your company description.
- The services you will provide.
- Your branding, marketing and advertising plan.
- The structure of your business.
- The operational plan for your business.
- The financial plan for your business.
Some of the factors you will need to consider when creating your business plan are:
The type of career coaching you will specialise in
You may choose to provide a varied career coaching programme or specialise in a specific type of coaching. Consider your qualifications, experience, knowledge and skills when considering what to specialise in. You should also consider the types of career coaching that are likely to be in the highest demand and are likely to result in maximum profits.
How you plan to operate your business
Will you offer in-person coaching or online coaching? Alternatively, you could opt for hybrid courses. If you do decide to coach in person you will need to decide how you plan to operate, for example, will you open a commercial location or a home office? Will you visit your clients at their homes, workplaces or a location of their choosing? How you plan to operate your business will have a significant impact on your operating costs and your typical client base.
Your typical client base
Your client base will be determined by the type of career coaching you offer, whether you specialise in a certain industry or niche, how you operate your business and your pricing. Identifying who your typical customer base is can influence your branding and help you to plan your advertising and marketing strategies.
Being aware of your competition can help you make key business decisions. Look at career coaches who operate online and in person and focus specifically on coaches who specialise in the same industry or type of coaching as you. By analysing your competition, you will be able to plan your business more effectively and increase the likelihood of success. Look at what other businesses do well and whether they have any unexploited opportunities for growth or improvement that you can maximise on.
Your brand and unique selling point (USP)
Creating your brand is a key way to ensure you stand out from other career coaches. Branding can help you to focus on your target customers, attract clients and concentrate your marketing and advertising strategies. You can create your brand by focusing on the type of coach you want to be, your qualifications and experience, your website and your brand story. A USP can also be part of your brand and can help your career coaching business stand out from your competitors. Consider what can make you stand out and how this fits into what defines your business.
Your marketing and advertising strategies
Marketing and advertising are especially important when you first launch your career coaching business. Your marketing strategy needs to be effective and budget friendly. Consider your target clients and the best way to reach them.
Some ways you can market and advertise your business are:
- Build a functional and attractive website.
- Create business cards.
- Offer discounted rates and introductory offers to build your client base.
- Ask your clients to write a review of your business online.
- Set up a referral system.
- Advertise online and in person.
Your business budget
Your business budget will include your start-up costs and your running costs. A budget can help you to better manage your business’s finances and maximise your profits. Determining your approximate costs enables you to calculate your initial investment and what your monthly or annual running costs will be. Creating a budget is a key part of your business plan. Once you have determined your approximate costs, you can then calculate your pricing policy and determine your profit forecast.
Your pricing policy
You need to ensure your prices are competitive whilst still ensuring you are maximising your profits and income. Consider the prices charged by other career coaches. Your pricing will also be influenced by your own experience and qualifications, the type of career coaching you offer and your typical client base. Your pricing policy may change as your business and reputation grow.
Your strategy for growth
Your strategy for growth is the actions you will take to realise your goals for expansion and any potential challenges your business could face and how you will avoid or overcome them. Being aware of any potential challenges can help you to prepare for them and hopefully avoid them. This can help to make your business more successful. Challenges could include a failure to attract new clients, low client retention and a high level of competition in your chosen niche.
Some potential strategies for growth include:
- Hire additional career coaches.
- Expand your focus.
- Market your business towards high-end clients.
Your sales forecast
How many clients can you realistically take on at one time? How much profit do you expect to make each month? As your business grows, your sales forecast is likely to change. You should also consider how hiring additional career coaches will change your sales forecast.
Your business summary
Your business plan should include a detailed overview of your business, including the type of career coaching you will specialise in, how you will conduct your business, your coaching methodology, the size of your business, your licensing, your equipment requirements and your business goals.
Your business goals
Determining your business goals is an essential part of creating your business plan. Your business objectives highlight the targets and goals of your career coaching business and help you to create a one-year, three-year and five-year business plan.
Your business objectives should be SMART:
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Achievable
- R = Realistic
- T = Time-bound
Consult the list of legal requirements above to check you have complied with all requirements and regulations and that all your paperwork is accurate. Failure to comply with legal requirements could have a detrimental effect on your business or could result in a fine, the forced closure of your business or, in serious cases, prosecution.