Do you enjoy helping people with their finances? If you have ever wondered how to become a financial coach and start your own business, then read on! This guide is just for you.
Starting your own business is both rewarding and overwhelming at the same time. You can set your own hours and there are no limits to how much you can earn. If you enjoy helping people with their finances, including how to set up budgets, get out of debt, and prepare for retirement, then you should consider becoming a financial coach.
I’ll explain what a financial coach is and what you need to know before starting this new adventure.
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What is a Financial Coach?
A financial coach is someone who helps people understand the basics of money. This is different from investment advisors or accountants.
Financial coaches teach good money habits and explain what investments are and how credit works. They focus more on teaching than just doing it for people.
They work with clients to create financial goals and plans and help them set actionable steps to achieve them.
People hire financial coaches when they need help getting out of a bad financial situation (like bankruptcy) or achieving a financial goal (like how to qualify for and buy a house they can afford).
Or, in my case, people who own small businesses hire me to help them understand their numbers and increase their profits.
Financial Coach Salary
How much you could earn as an entrepreneurial/freelance financial coach depends on how much you charge per client or per hour.
According to The National Financial Educator’s Council, most freelance financial coaches that work for themselves charge between $100-$300 per hour. And some charge a value-based bundle.
The price you charge will depend on:
- Your experience – what value are you giving to your clients?
- Cost of Living
- Whether you charge per hour or via an annual bundle
How To Become A Financial Coach
Now that you know what a financial coach is, are you ready to start your own business? It’s both exhausting and incredibly rewarding at the same time.
Financial Coach Certification
The very first step will be to create credibility and authority (and to prepare yourself for the types of work you’ll be doing). You can do this by becoming a Certified Personal Finance Consultant.
The National Financial Educator’s Council (NFEC) offers a program that will give you the official certification. Some of the things you’ll learn in this program include:
- How to guide and educate people as a coach
- Financial coaching and counseling strategies
- Content Knowledge of Personal Finance Questions
- The Psychological and Behavioral Finance Aspects of Coaching
To earn this certification, you will need to pass a proctored exam after completing 180 hours of training and practice (18 Continuing Education Units – CEU). Learn more from the NFEC.
You can also earn a certification from the Financial Coach Academy.
These options will give you the strategies and tools you need to successfully help people navigate the world of personal finance, no matter what situations they are in.
Financial Coach Training
You can also invest in training that will help you learn what you need to become a confident, credible financial coach. I personally did my training with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Coach Master Training.
I took the training in person, but it appears that it is available all online now. It was a great program and gave me the baseline and confidence to start my business.
Set Your Goals
The next step to becoming a financial coach is to set your goals. What do you know already? What do you need to know? And why are you doing this?
Create actionable goals. This will narrow your focus and help you efficiently set up your new business.
How to Start a Financial Coaching Business
After you become a certified financial coach, you’re ready to start your own business. You’ll invest a lot of time and money at first, but it will all be worth it.
#1 Find a Location
The first step is to establish where you will work and where you want to work with clients. Do you want to work mostly with people online? Or would you rather coach people in person?
If you want to work from home at first, set up an office. Giving yourself a dedicated space in which to work will help you focus and be more efficient. It’s amazing how distracting a comfy couch or a dirty kitchen can be.
Another option you can look into is working in a co-working office. Some towns have buildings where you can rent a room or have a corner of an office with your own desk.
#2 Set Up A Website and Social Media Pages
Next, you need to set up your website. This is your billboard to the world! If you aren’t tech-savvy, hire a freelance web-designer and use something that’s easy to update yourself, such as WordPress. The most important things you need your website to have are:
- Bio: Who you are and why people should hire you
- Services: What you offer
- Testimony: What others are saying
- Contact Page: How people can reach you
- Blog: This is optional, but will establish you as an authority in your field and drive search traffic to you. Write at least one post per week about financial topics that can be helpful resources for people.
You also need to set up a Facebook Business Page. So many older adults use Facebook to search for businesses. It has a place where you can put hours and you can use it to announce when you are taking time off work and can’t be reached.
#3 Set Prices and Systems
Set yourself up for success by establishing organizational systems before you meet with your first client. These are the systems you need to have in place:
- Scheduling – establish how you are going to schedule appointments. Reserve blocks of time for necessary office work such as invoicing and follow-ups.
- Bookkeeping – how will you keep track of payments received and amounts you are owed?
- Advertising/Marketing – Set up a checklist of steps you will go through every time you reach out to a potential client. Create a new checklist for how to thank a current client after their coaching is completed (and encourage them to spread the word!).
- Onboarding – Create a process for establishing someone as a new client. You’ll need to gather their contact information, get a signed contract, schedule appointments, and set up payment methods.
Now you are ready to spread the word about your business and find some clients. Go to local small business association meetings. Join the chamber of commerce. Join some financial coaching Facebook groups.
This part will take some investment, but it can pay off when start building a small business from the ground up. Like everything, you’ll want to calculate the ROI and see if networking is worth the investment.
#5 Create a List of What You Do and Don’t Do
Finally, make a list of the services your coaching business offers and another one of things you do not do.
It’s so easy at first to offer to do everything for everyone in the hopes of getting your name out there. But it’s a good way to get burned out and taken advantage of. Plus, when you try to do something outside of your knowledge-base, you run the risk of giving bad advice and that could hurt your business.
Stick to your specialty and you’ll do great!
Essential Online Tools for Financial Coaches
Now that you know how to become a financial coach and how to start your own business, I want to share my favorite tools for financial coaches. These are essential and will make your job a lot easier.
Scheduling App – Calendly
Find a scheduling and calendar app that you can use to track all your appointments. When you work directly with people on a one-on-one basis, it helps to have something they can see.
Not only is it convenient, but it’s one of the best tools to help eliminate unnecessary emails.
Calendly creates a public-facing calendar and gives future clients the ability to schedule their own appointments online. I love how simple this is and that it takes one less thing off my plate.
It’s free to use, so give it a try.
Book Like a Boss
Another scheduling tool for financial coaches that I recommend is Book Like a Boss. This is a bit prettier than Calendly and allows for more customization.
This tool is not free, but prices are reasonable. They have different plans that will cost anywhere from $9 – $29 per month.
Next, you need a way to accept payments. I recommend FreshBooks for coaches and other service business owners since it has reporting that will help you get a good overview of finances.
If you have tangible products you plan to sell in-person, such as books, Square is a handy tool to have because you don’t want to have to create invoices for each person standing in line to buy from you.
Square is a trusted point of sale POS system. It’s free and you can accept credit cards and PayPal with it. Plus, you can use it in person via your tablet or phone.
If you want to set up a personal finance course for people to take in their free time, I suggest using Teachable. It’s a way to start earning residual income without spending time doing face-to-face appointments.
You can set up courses on “how to get out of debt” or “saving up for your dream vacation with cash.”
Onboard clients by getting a contract signing tool like DocuSign. This is an easy way to collect digital e-signatures on your contracts—always make sure to have a signed agreement before beginning work!
There is a lot of information you will need to include in your contracts. Make sure your expectations are set for the coaching agreement and there is a date that all sessions and rescheduled sessions must be completed by. Here’s more information about how to get contracts signed.
Streaming Conference Tool
While you may have some meetings face-to-face with clients, in today’s digital climate, chances are you will also have a lot of meetings online.
Make sure to have a tool in place to host these meetings and record them. This way you can send the videos to your clients so they can rewatch them and reference them later. Plus, it’s a great backup for those times when you and your client remember conversations differently.
Transcribe Your Calls
It’s a nice bonus if you can have your calls transcribed as well. There are several inexpensive services you can use, but I personally like Rev. I have found them to be quick, accurate, and affordable—it only costs $1 per minute transcribed.
MS Office 365
I am a huge advocate of Microsoft Office 365. I use and recommend the Business Premium option because you get the MS Office products both online and desktop, 1 custom domain email address, 1 TB of storage, and supposedly you also get MileIQ included for free if you have the Business Premium, but I haven’t tried it yet.
Become a Financial Coach
If you are a natural-born helper and thrive on working directly with people to improve their lives, and talking about money makes your nerdy side come out, then being a financial coach might be just the things for you.
Other Service-Based Businesses to Consider
Not everyone is meant to be a financial coach, and that’s okay. If the above seems more overwhelming than exciting, you still have plenty of options for creating a business of your own. Here are some other opportunities to consider:
Create a Life Coach Business
Do you have a knack for strategy, particularly when it comes to helping others navigate their lives? If you’re the one all your friends go to for advice about their life or career, try working as a life coach.
Every coach offers a different approach and a different specialty, whether it’s working with CEOs or stay at home moms. Figure out where your passions and talent intersect and give it a try!
Start a Service Business
There are so many fantastic opportunities for service businesses in today’s modern economy. As more and more people move towards gig-based work, the need for outsourcing continues to increase.
What is a service business?
A service business is where you provide work to a client that’s intangible. Think of it as the opposite of a product-based business. Rather than a client paying you for a physical item, like a book or a chair, they pay you for services such as copywriting or landscaping.
Examples of Service Businesses
Here are some various opportunities for service-based work:
- freelance writing
- social media services
- interior design
- insurance agent
- transportation (Uber or Lyft drivers)
- grocery delivery
- graphic design
Essentially, think of the one skill or talent you have where you excel. Are there topics that your friends or colleagues are always looking to you for advice? Chances are, people are willing to hire you for that thing.
Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Coaching Businesses
I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Starting and running a small business is a lot of work. But when you love what you do, it gives all this hard work a sense of purpose. The best thing you can do is tell people what you do and who you serve. Find your ideal customer and share how you can solve their burning pain or help them meet their goals.
You’ve got this! The best thing you can do is just to start.