Mark Stewart is the in-house Certified Public Accountant, an accomplished author and financial media specialist.
Published on July 28, 2021 Updated on November 15, 2023
$2,000 to $7,000
$47,000 - $187,000 p.a.
Time to build
$37,000 - $75,000 p.a.
If you’re looking for a flexible job, love working with people, and have some knowledge of personal finance, then starting your own financial coaching business might be right for you! Financial and business coaching in the US is an $11 billion industry, and still growing fast, which makes it perfect for entrepreneurs looking for an opportunity with high earning potential.
Financial coaches help people with financial challenges including budgeting, debt repayment, financial priorities, or job seeking. Unlike a financial manager, a coach does not actively manage money, which means they need no special qualifications, license, or certification.
A financial coach offers their clients support, encouragement, and advice, to help them overcome financial challenges and meet their goals.
If this sounds like work that would appeal to you, you’ve come to the right place, as this step-by-step guide walks you through the process of developing and launching your own financial coaching business.
Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.
Like any major project or life decision, you should spend some time considering this opportunity before diving in. For any business to be successful, there must be full buy-in on the part of the entrepreneur. You need to be sure this is the right opportunity for you and pursue it with passion!
Spend some time considering the pros and cons, as well as industry trends, and potential earnings. This information will help you decide if it is the right opportunity for you.
Pros and cons
There are pros and cons to creating a financial coaching business, which should be carefully considered before moving forward.
Work your own hours, from office or home
Simple, low cost start-up
No finance background or certification necessary
Helping people can be fulfilling
Stressful work; clients often. in financial crisis
Challenging to scale up from solopreneur
Competitive, saturated market
Financial coaching industry trends
Following the massive layoffs that resulted from pandemic-driven lockdowns, many people turned to financial coaches to help them deal with their financial hardship.
US consumers have learned in recent years that financial coaches can help them build and sustain access to credit and solidify their financial future, which means demand is likely to remain steady for the foreseeable future.
How much does it cost to start a financial coaching business?
Startup costs shift significantly based on preferences, location, and the assets you already own. The average start-up cost of a financial coaching business runs from $2,000 to $7,000.
Aside from computers and video equipment, the costs of starting a financial coaching business are mostly inexpensive.
Company incorporation, licenses, and permits
$100 - $100
$150 - $150
Computers and IT equipment
$0 - $1,500
Camera, lighting, and accessories
$800 - $2,000
Paper and stationery
$50 - $100
Branding, marketing, and advertising
$500 - $2,000
Website and software
$250 - $750
$150 - $400
$2,000 - $7,000
How much can you earn from a financial coaching business?
With a financial coaching business, your revenue depends on your ability to attract new clients and your capacity to simultaneously manage multiple clients. As a result, your earning potential increases significantly with experience. Here are some numbers to consider when you’re just starting out.
The average fee of a financial coach is $250/hr, though as a new coach you’ll start at a lower price, maybe $100, and then $150.
In your first year or two, you could work from home and start with as little as six hours of work per week, or just 15% of your full-time capacity. This would mean 312 hours of work over a full year. At $150 per hour, you could bring in almost $47,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $37,000 in profit, assuming an 80% margin.
As your brand gains recognition, you could increase your rate to $200 and clock in 936 hours of work. At this stage, you’d rent a commercial space and hire staff, reducing your profit margin to around 40%. With annual revenue of $187,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $75,000.
What are the barriers to entry?
The barriers to entry in the financial coaching business are not high, but will likely include:
Competitive and saturated with smaller boutique firms and coaches
Loyalty is hard to find as clients pay nothing for switching to another coach
Motivation, enthusiasm and considerable preparation are a must
Related Business Ideas
If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
You’ve now considered the pros and cons, looked at the financial opportunity, and have decided that starting a financial coaching business is the right step for you. The next step is to hone your idea and examine the details.
Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.
Why? Identify an opportunity
The low barriers to entry in this industry mean that it is a saturated market with significant competition. You need to be able to identify the right opportunity to launch your business and determine your “why”. Why do you want to start a financial coaching business?
The simple answer is that Americans need financial help. Americans’ number one stress factor is money. Looking at the following statistics, it’s not difficult to see why:
Two-thirds of Americans have $1,000 or less saved up
One-third of Americans have no savings for retirement
One-third of Americans are in debt
Two-thirds of Americans do not keep a budget
There are coaches out there for just about every challenge in life. A fitness trainer can push you to get in shape, while a career coach can help you find your perfect job. Many Americans facing financial difficulties turn to a financial coach.
Particularly in the pandemic era, the number of people who have lost jobs and dug deep into their savings and are now in need of financial advice has steadily increased. The availability of financial resources has exploded in recent years, and the opportunity is there for financial coaches to jump in and serve financially distressed people, helping them overcome their challenges.
Due to the high demand for financial advice, there has been an explosion of new financial resources over the last few years, including coaches, blogs, and other services.
What? Determine your products or services
Like most entrepreneurs, a financial coach wears a number of different hats. It’s important to understand the various roles a coach will play because this is not the type of job with a singular, specific, or repetitive job. Instead, a financial coach will fill many different roles at any given time.
Here are some of the main roles of a financial coach:
Understand the client’s financial issues and discuss solutions
Educate the client about personal finance and set goals
Encourage a pessimistic client that he can dig his way out of his financial hole
Lay out a budgeting plan and monitor progress
Guide the client on major financial decisions
A client’s goals could include achieving a desired income, determining spending or savings targets, exploring investment opportunities, and more. A coach will then mentor and assist clients in achieving their goals and overcoming financial challenges.
To best help your clients, you’ll want to offer services and products that fulfill their needs. Some examples of financial coaching services and products are:
Consultation Services — General financial guidance
Budgeting Services — Helping a client understand where their money goes and budget appropriately
Goal Setting — Establish your client’s financial goals and outline a plan to achieve them
Debt repayment — Devise a plan for your client to repay debt and follow through
Financial literacy — Offer courses your clients can purchase
Educational content — Paid access to your reports, blog posts, podcasts on personal finance
How much should you charge for your services?
Similar to counselors, financial coaches tend to meet their clients at regular intervals, usually weekly or bi-weekly. This relationship may last anywhere from a few months to several years.
Many financial coaches sell their services in bundles of 8-10 hours of consultation, though individual sessions can range from just 15 minutes by phone to a one-and-a-half-hour meeting.
You can charge based on financial service or product, but most coaches operate under an hourly rate, which simplifies the process. Depending upon their experience, financial coaches charge $2,000 to $3,000 for 10 hours of financial coaching, or an average of $250/hour.
Depending upon their experience, financial coaches charge anywhere between $2,000 to $3,000 for 10 hours of financial coaching, or an average of $250/hour.
Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.
Who? Identify your target market
Since there are so many people who need financial coaching, it can be helpful to focus on just a small segment of the population. This makes it easier to build expertise and market your services to a certain demographic.
A financial coach may work with all market segments or decide to focus on one particular niche and gradually expand to others over the time period. Regardless of your target market strategy, here are some examples of market segments:
Individuals and families with significant debt
Small business owners
Unemployed individuals seeking work
Financially insecure individuals
Elders with no retirement plans
Individuals who want to quit their job
Students graduating and entering the workforce
When considering a target market to work with, think about your area of expertise, what sort of people you feel comfortable with, and to whom you can easily market. For example, if you live in an area with a lot of retirees, you could focus on retirement planning because it will be easier to get the word out and network. If you try to market to young families, you might be out of luck! So, be strategic when choosing a target market.
Where? Choose your business premises
In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
Central location accessible via public transport
Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
The name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
Including keywords, such as “financing” or “coach”, boosts SEO
Choose a name that allows for expansion: “Financial Freedom Academy” over “Family Financial Coaching”
Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
Executive Summary: A brief summary outlining the key aspects of the financial coaching business, including its mission, objectives, and potential for growth.
Business Overview: A concise description of the financial coaching business, highlighting its purpose, target audience, and unique value proposition in the market.
Product and Services: A clear outline of the specific financial coaching services offered, detailing how they address the needs of clients and differentiate the business from competitors.
Market Analysis: An examination of the target market, including demographics, trends, and potential demand for financial coaching services, to justify the business’s viability.
Competitive Analysis: An evaluation of other financial coaching providers, emphasizing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to strategically position the business in the market.
Sales and Marketing: A plan detailing how the financial coaching business intends to promote its services, acquire clients, and establish a strong presence in the market.
Management Team: An introduction to the key individuals responsible for running the business, highlighting their qualifications and expertise in financial coaching and business management.
Operations Plan: A comprehensive overview of the day-to-day operations of the financial coaching business, including key processes, technology, and any necessary partnerships.
Financial Plan: A detailed projection of the financial aspects of the business, encompassing income statements, cash flow forecasts, and a break-even analysis to demonstrate financial sustainability.
Appendix: Additional supporting documents and information, such as resumes of key team members, market research data, and any other relevant materials to strengthen the business plan.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to financial coaching.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your financial coaching business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)– Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
Bank loans: This is the most common method, but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Bank and SBA loans are probably the best options, other than friends and family, for funding a financial coaching business.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties. If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your coaching business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.
You can create your own website using website builders. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
For your financial coaching business, the marketing strategy should focus on showcasing your expertise in personal finance, the success stories of your clients, and your unique approach to financial education and empowerment. Emphasize your ability to provide personalized guidance, your commitment to helping clients achieve their financial goals, and the long-term value of financial literacy.
Professional Branding: Your branding should convey trustworthiness, expertise, and approachability. This includes everything from your logo and business cards to your website and promotional materials.
Direct Outreach: Connect with potential clients through LinkedIn, local community groups, and professional networks. Hosting free workshops or seminars can also be an effective way to demonstrate your expertise and attract clients.
Digital Presence and Online Marketing
Professional Website and SEO: Develop a comprehensive website that highlights your services, client testimonials, and any educational resources or tools you offer. Use SEO best practices to optimize your site for relevant keywords related to financial coaching, debt management, and personal finance advice.
Social Media Engagement: Utilize platforms like LinkedIn for professional networking, Instagram, and Facebook to share financial tips, client success stories, and engage with your audience.
Content Marketing and Engagement
Financial Education Blog: Share blog posts about budgeting, saving, investing, and other financial tips that provide value to your audience and establish your expertise.
Email Newsletters: Keep your subscribers informed about the latest financial tips, workshop dates, and personal finance strategies through regular newsletters.
Video Content: Create video content or webinars addressing common financial challenges, offering advice, and explaining complex financial concepts in an understandable way.
Experiential and In-Person Engagements
Financial Workshops and Seminars: Host free or low-cost workshops and seminars on topics like financial planning, investment basics, or debt management to educate and attract potential clients.
Community Financial Literacy Programs: Offer financial literacy programs in partnership with local community centers, libraries, or schools.
Collaborations and Community
Collaborations with Local Businesses: Partner with local businesses to offer their employees financial coaching services as part of their benefits package.
Networking with Professionals: Network with accountants, attorneys, and other professionals who can refer clients to your services.
Customer Relationship and Loyalty Programs
Referral Incentives: Implement a referral program that rewards clients who refer new business to you.
Follow-Up Consultations: Offer follow-up consultations to past clients to review their financial progress and reinforce the value of your coaching.
Promotions and Advertising
Targeted Online Advertising: Use digital advertising on platforms frequented by your target audience, such as LinkedIn, finance blogs, and personal development sites.
Community Engagement: Engage in community events and activities, offering financial advice and promoting your services.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your financial coaching business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your coaching business could be:
Highlight your passion for educating people on personal finance
Promote success stories to demonstrate how you can help clients
Offer initial financial consultation free of charge!
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a financial coaching business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working as a financial coach for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in financial coaching. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a coaching business would include:
General Manager — scheduling, bookkeeping, quality assurance
Marketing Lead — SEO practices, social media marketing
Administrative Assistant — clerical duties
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Run a Financial Coaching Business – Start Making Money!
Keep in mind that unlike financial advisors, a financial coach will not manage a client’s money or investments, nor will they guide them on investing capital and managing their portfolios. Discussions about investments and investment objectives may, however, be within the scope of a financial coach.
Coaching also differs from counseling and mentoring as it does not require any specific expertise. A financial coach is a partner and motivator who constantly pushes for positive, long-term change in a client’s financial behavior.
You’re now ready to start coaching and making good money!
Financial Coaching Business FAQs
How do financial coaches get clients?
First, you need to understand your target market. Think about different avenues through which you can approach them. For example, is most of your target market on social media? Do they attend any specific events? What issues do they normally face? Develop your target market-specific content marketing strategy and advertise on platforms mostly visited by your target audience to gain traction.
Can you make money being a financial coach?
Being a financial coach can be extremely profitable. Unlike financial advisors, financial coaches work on a fee-only basis. You don’t have to manage the client’s investments and monies to charge a commission percentage on it. Financial coaches make anywhere from $200 to $300 per hour.
Are financial coaches in demand?
Financial coaches are in great demand. The statistics show that two-thirds of Americans don’t have more than $1,000 in savings. While this indicator is alarming, it is also an indication that most people will be working with financial coaches as their financial situation worsens. This is especially relevant because of the economic slowdown due to COVID-19.
Can you be a financial coach without certification?
Yes. You can be a good financial coach without any certifications. In fact, there are many financial coaches that do not have a business or finance background. Instead, they switched to this profession by leaving their 9-5 job in music, engineering, and technology.
You only need a passion for helping others, great interpersonal skills, and some basic knowledge and interest in money management and personal finance. Your knowledge and skills will grow as you gain experience as a financial coach.
Are there any good training courses?
Yes, there is an excellent resource for upcoming financial coaches: “Financial Coach Master Training” provided by Ramsey Solutions. It will give you a clear idea of the fundamentals of financial coaching. They will also help you get equipped to resolve your clients’ needs.
The training is priced at $1,995 (at the time of writing) and is a worthwhile investment for a prospective financial coach who is looking for more guidance.
How to Start a Financial Coaching Business
Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Hone Your Idea
Brainstorm a Business Name
Create a Business Plan
Register Your Business
Register for Taxes
Fund your Business
Apply for Licenses/Permits
Open a Business Bank Account
Get Business Insurance
Prepare to Launch
Build Your Team
Run a Financial Coaching Business - Start Making Money!
Financial Coaching Business FAQs
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