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.
Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You
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
- Creative problem-solving
- No finance background or certification necessary
- Helping people can be fulfilling
- Highly profitable
- 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.
Industry size and growth
- Industry size and past growth – Market analyst IBISWorld values the business coaching industry, which includes financial, executive, and entrepreneurial coaching, at around $11 billion.
- Growth forecast – The business coaching industry is expected to grow at least 2% in 2022.
- Number of businesses – There are more than 2,200 financial coaching firms in the US.
Trends and challenges
Trends shaping the financial coaching industry:
- Survey says 77% of Americans are anxious about their financial situation
- Increasing use of financial technology to access financial services
Challenges in the financial coaching industry:
- Managing client’s expectations
- Establishing trust
What kind of people work in financial coaching?
- Gender – 60% of financial coaches in the US are female, while 40% are male.
- Average level of education – 63% of finance coaches hold a bachelor’s degree and 13% have an associate degree.
- Average age – The average age of a finance coach is 45 years old.
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.
|Start-up Costs||Ballpark Range||Average
|Company incorporation, licenses, and permits||$100 - $100||$100
|Insurance||$150 - $150||$150
|Computers and IT equipment||$0 - $1,500||$750
|Camera, lighting, and accessories||$800 - $2,000||$1,400
|Paper and stationery||$50 - $100||$75
|Branding, marketing, and advertising||$500 - $2,000||$1,250
|Website and software||$250 - $750||$500
|Miscellaneous||$150 - $400||$275
|Total||$2,000 - $7,000||$4,500
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.
Step 2: Hone Your Idea
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.
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: “Jim’s Bakery” over “Jim’s Cookies”
- Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
- Use online tools like the Step by Step business name generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.
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: Brief overview of the entire business plan; should be written after the plan is complete.
- Business Overview: Overview of the company, vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
- Product and Services: Describe your offerings in detail.
- Market Analysis: Assess market trends such as variations in demand and prospects for growth, and do a SWOT analysis.
- Competitive Analysis: Analyze main competitors, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and create a list of the advantages of your services.
- Sales and Marketing: Examine your companies’ unique selling propositions (USPs) and develop sales, marketing, and promotional strategies.
- Management Team: Overview of management team, detailing their roles and professional background, along with a corporate hierarchy.
- Operations Plan: Your company’s operational plan includes procurement, office location, key assets and equipment, and other logistical details.
- Financial Plan: Three years of financial planning, including startup costs, break-even analysis, profit and loss estimates, cash flow, and balance sheet.
- Appendix: Include any additional financial or business-related documents.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist at Fiverr 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 ZenBusiness’s 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.
Step 6: Register for Taxes
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.
Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits
Starting a financial coaching business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.
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.
You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.
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.
Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account
Before you start making money you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.
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.
Step 11: Prepare to Launch
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.
You may want to use software and websites that could boost your coaching business such as customer relationship management tools Redtail and Wealthbox, and budgeting tools YNAB, Intuit Mint, or Simplifi by Quicken Best to help clients manage their finances.
- Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero.
- 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.
Some of your business will come from online visitors, but you should still invest in digital marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses, as it’ll boost customer and brand awareness.
Once your website is up and running, make sure you link to your social media accounts and vice versa. Social media is a particularly good way of promoting your business because you can create engaging posts that advertise your products:
- Facebook: Great platform for paid advertising, allows you to target specific demographics, like men under age 50 in the Cleveland area.
- Instagram: Same benefits as Facebook but with different target audiences.
- Website: SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Send a Message Now”. This can sharply increase the number of clients..
- Google and Yelp: For businesses that rely on local clientele, getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be crucial to generating awareness and customers.
Take advantage of your website, social media presence and real-life activities to increase awareness of your offerings and build your brand. Some suggestions include:
- Competitions and giveaways – Generate interest by offering prizes for customers who complete a certain action, such as reduced prices for eliminating all debt.
- Signage – Put up eye-catching signage at your store and website.
- Flyering – Distribute flyers in your neighborhood and at industry events.
- Post a video – Post a video about your financial coaching services. Use humor and maybe it will go viral!
- Email marketing/newsletter – Send regular emails to customers and prospects. Make them personal.
- Start a blog – Start a blog and post regularly. Change up your content and share on multiple sites.
- Seek out referrals – Offer incentives to generate customer referrals to new clients.
- Paid ads on social media – Choose sites that will reach your target market and do targeted ads.
- Create infographics – Post infographics and include them in your content.
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. 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.
You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. 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.
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: 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.