Building Your Business

16 Ways to Find Your First Paid Coaching Client

Discover unconventional ways to attract your first paid client as a new life coach. Say "yes" to new opportunities and leverage the power of collaboration.

Getting new clients is the aim of any professional coach, but we have some news for you – there’s no one singular way to get clients. Nothing is the metaphorical silver bullet that will bring people flooding in the door. Building your own unique coaching business will require you to be creative and your own best advocate. And that’s what makes it exciting and energizing.

Much like anything worth having, building a coaching practice also takes time and effort. It will likely require that you use skills you’ve learned in different areas of your life. If you have experience in networking, put those skills to good use with your established networks to spread the word that you’re a coach. If you have marketing skills, consider how you might market yourself. Leaning into your natural abilities and interests can often be an excellent way to find momentum and satisfaction in your business

With all that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ways that other coaches have found clients and ideas that could spark your imagination as you make them your own.

NOTE: Not everything on this list will work for you. But if you take time to think about each one and how it COULD work for you – you’ll be ahead of the pack. 


Make sure people know what you do. 

You are your biggest advocate. No one else is going to be loud and proud about what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve learned on your journey to become a professional coach. It’s on you to put your hand up or put yourself forward for opportunities as they arise.

Introduce yourself as a coach.

The field of coaching is still young – coaching is a new concept to many people. While it may feel unnatural to talk about yourself, it’s on you to put yourself out there with a goal of helping others. If no one knows you’re a coach, then they can’t refer you to their sister or co-worker who’s looking for one. With time, it will feel more natural to talk about your work as a coach.

Be easy to find. 

Make sure if someone looks you up, it’s easy to tell you’re a coach, what areas you coach on and how to contact you. One of the best ways to do this is to make a simple professional website that showcases your expertise and highlights the benefits of working with you. 

Momentum creates momentum. 

The biggest piece of advice our Lumia graduates give new coaches based on their experience is that putting yourself out there and saying YES to opportunities brought so many more opportunities their way. They weren’t picky in the beginning, but said YES to as many coaching related things and opportunities to meet new potential clients as they could. Being open meant even MORE new opportunities found them along the way.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Visible outcomes = time spent. Want to get good at throwing a baseball? You’ll need to spend time throwing a baseball. You can read hundreds of books about throwing a baseball, but until you stand outside with a baseball in your hand and actually throw it, you can’t build the muscle memory or the expertise that comes with practice.

Coaching is exactly the same. Take every opportunity you can to practice and to get your hours in. Getting comfortable with coaching means building your ability like a muscle. 

Nearly all the successful, in-demand coaches we’ve spoken to have said that they did as many pro-bono or peer practice sessions as they could, in order to build their skill level as they began to work with paid clients. They spent time honing their craft, even if they weren’t being paid. This kept them sharp, kept their skills current and gave them opportunities to spend time doing what they loved – coaching.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore some ways to find coaching clients.


1. Partner with Wellness Centers

Spas and wellness centers are eager to expand their offerings and are looking for collaborators that can bring something new and unique. Research your local wellness centers, spas, or yoga studios and put together an email or specific offering for bundled services that combine coaching with other wellness experiences. Lumia CEO Noelle Cordeaux used this exact method to build her business many years ago and found it very effective.

2. Work for a Coaching Company

Many of the successful coaches to graduate from Lumia work at least part-time for a coaching company, either in the relationship, health or life coaching space. These jobs have become more frequently posted in recent years and we’ve seen both full and part time jobs posted.

Laura Criscione, Lumia graduate, offered the advice of setting up alerts on LinkedIn and Indeed for life coaching roles – she’s interviewed and accepted several different part-time coaching positions that way. 

NOTE: Check the terms of your contract carefully. Some full time positions do not allow you to work with clients on your own, so be mindful of your own goals. 

3. Get Involved with a Local Organization

Look for an organization you’re interested in working with and get involved in a real way. One of our Lumia graduates offered to coach members of the local Dress for Success chapter and found herself with a handful of new clients after a few months. You could also approach related local businesses or corporations to offer coaching services as part of their employee wellness programs or personal development initiatives. 

4. Develop a Referral Circle 

Get to know other coaches who are at your same level and agree to pass each other clients when the opportunity arises. Many Lumia graduates refer clients to one another if the client is looking for a specific type of coach, or if it’s not a good fit for their niche. 

5. Offer Assistance in Online Groups

Join online communities or forums where your target audience congregates and provide valuable insights and advice. Several coaches from Lumia posted in a local group for mothers, and were able to do pro-bono sessions there to get their hours and met potential new clients.

6. Collaborate with Similar Providers

Develop partnerships with complementary service providers, such as therapists or nutritionists, who can refer clients to you and you to them. You can also collaborate with other coaches or professionals in complementary fields to offer joint packages or programs that are advertised to both your audiences.

7. Partner with Influencers

Reach out to social media personalities or bloggers in your niche, offering them a complimentary coaching session in exchange for a shout-out or review. Although many people get lots of these types of pitches, you can increase your rate of success by reaching out to influencers that have a similar follower count or aren’t too famous yet. (For instance, it might be hard to get noticed by Oprah but easier to land a collaboration with someone who started around the same time as you!)

8. Get Involved with your local Chamber of Commerce

This organization exists to support local businesses – that’s you! One of our coaches, Leigh Leigh Kossman, got involved with her Chamber of Commerce and met other people there who gave her speaking opportunities which lead to finding clients. 

9. Practice Public Speaking

Speaking can be a great way to become known locally and attract clients while also establishing yourself as an expert. Volunteer to speak at local events or organizations, sharing your expertise and offering value to the audience.

10. Blogging and Writing

Lumia co-founder John Kim found many clients (and scored a book deal!) by writing his honest reflections in an online blog. In addition to posting on your own website or social media, write guest articles for popular blogs or websites in your niche, including a call-to-action at the end of the article to book a coaching session.

11. Create Your Own Podcast

Podcasts are a great way for people to get to know you, what kind of coaching you offer and for you to share your insights regularly. While it may take some research, many of our graduates have created an engaging and informative podcast or YouTube channel to showcase expertise and attract potential clients.

BONUS LUMIA BLOG: Read all about how to start your own podcast -- How to Create Your Own Podcast in 5 Easy Steps

12. Be a Guest on Other’s Podcasts

Create opportunities for yourself to participate in relevant podcasts as a guest expert, sharing your insights and experiences to reach a wider audience. One of our Lumia graduates, Graciela Moore, was on 17 podcasts in her first year – simply by researching podcasts in her niche, reaching out and asking if she could be a guest and highlighting what insights she could offer their audiences.

13. Word of Mouth

Over and over again we’ve heard how effective word of mouth is for getting new clients. A happy client is often willing to share their experiences with others and recommend you to friends and family. Taking on pro-bono clients to practice your skills can often lead to paid clients through the power of referrals.

You could also offer a referral incentive program, where existing clients receive a discount or bonus for referring new paying clients to you.

14. Be Visible on Social Media

Some people love it, some people hate it – but it’s undeniably powerful in reaching new people and sharing ideas. Consider where your ideal client might hang out and develop a strong social media presence on platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, sharing authentically and engaging with your audience. 

Many of our Lumia graduates have built a following by sharing genuinely and authentically about their own lives and struggles on social media, and have shared that it helps attract clients who are drawn to their story.

BONUS LUMIA BLOG: The Do's and Don'ts of Having a Social Media Presence

15. Write a Book

Several of our coaches have found success through writing a book about their experiences or a non-fiction book about coaching concepts. Writing a book related to your coaching niche, even if you self publish it, can help position you as an authority in your space and give credibility to your work.

16. Do something strange and wonderful

Sometimes unusual things can grab attention and break through the noise. Just because something seems strange doesn’t mean it can’t work.

  • Organize a "coaching marathon" where you offer back-to-back mini-coaching sessions to individuals at a discounted rate, generating a buzz and attracting potential clients.

  • Host a "Coaching Flash Mob" in a popular public space, where a group of coaches offers brief coaching sessions to passersby, creating curiosity and buzz around coaching services.

  • One coach we heard of set up a table at a busy walking area in Venice Beach with a sign offering “Free Listening Sessions” – they then used the attention via social media to gain new clients and introduce people to coaching.

Remember, Building Your Practice Takes Time

Ultimately what brings in clients is a number of different efforts and approaches. No one thing alone worked for the coaches we have spoken to, but there is joy in trying new things and giving yourself space to experiment and grow. Take your time and approach building your business with an eye towards flexibility – it may not look like what you expected when you first began this journey.

Ready to Become A Coach?

One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our life coaches ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power and you’d like a partner in the process, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.

Lumia Coaching: Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.

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