Originally published in January 2022, this blog has been updated as of August 2023 to include new resources and information.
Wondering how to make money as a life coach?
The answer isn't necessarily to find more clients. It's revenue diversification.
According to the most recent global research conducted by the International Coaching Federation, 93% of coaches surveyed do something else in addition to one-on-one coaching. We’re talking about related activities such as facilitating group coaching programs, consulting, teaching, hosting a podcast, or publishing.
In the 2020 Global Coaching Study, ICF found that multi-hyphenate coach practitioners allocate just under half of their working time to 1:1 client coaching -- about 44%. What that means is that the majority of successful life coaches balance a much more diverse body of work than you might expect.
If you’re looking for data and facts about how to make real money as a life coach, you’ve come to the right place!
Life Coaching Revenue: Fantasy vs. Reality
If you’re like many aspiring life coaches, part of the appeal of this profession is the sense of freedom it can bring. We’re right there with you! The idea of “ditching the 9-5” to be your own boss, doing work that lights you up sounds pretty great.
But is it viable? For many new life coaches, this is often the next question that arises.
So let’s cut to the chase. Yes, striking out on your own and making a sustainable living as a life coach is 100% possible. We’ve seen it firsthand with Lumia Coaching program graduates who commit to doing the hard work to make those dreams a reality.
That said, the portrait of “financial freedom and lifestyle flexibility” that's been painted online by many coaching industry influencers doesn’t reflect the full picture. It takes more than great life coaching skills to build a profitable life coaching business. You need a plan.
How much do life coaches make? Find out in our resource blog: The Ultimate Guide to Life Coach Salaries
As part of a good business and marketing plan, you’ll want to be thinking about diversification of your revenue streams. To get an idea of how this works, take a minute to play with the income calculator below to see how various scenarios could impact your bottom line!
Combining 1:1 coaching with other offerings doesn’t just increase your annual revenue. Diversification is also a smart strategy for buffering against the natural ebbs and flows in your coaching business.
Client work can be cyclical or unpredictable. Sometimes you’ll be coaching 10 people at once. At other points in the year, you may have just 2 or 3 active clients on the books. That’s the nature of self employment, particularly in the beginning.
For new life coaches, the first few years in business can be tricky to forecast. But launching a life coaching business need not be a complete mystery! Like all things coaching, just take it step by step.
Many of the “other services'' that life coaches provide act as a pipeline for attracting new 1:1 clients. So let’s start by taking a look at the low hanging fruit - the types of offerings that can help get your name and expertise out there.
“Freebies” and Entry Point Offers
Low priced offerings can be an effective lead-in to the purchase of a higher-priced coaching package down the road. They serve as a way to establish credibility and trust with your audience. These types of products and services give prospective coaching clients the chance to get acquainted with you and your approach before making a larger commitment.
Entry point offers are typically products you develop once, and are then able to sell again and again, often on-demand. These include:
- Guided meditations
- Self-paced classes
Lower priced products such as these offer the added benefit of providing you with an “evergreen” source of passive income. And as your coaching roster fills up, they continue to work quietly in the background on autopilot, expanding your reach and impact to even more people than you might otherwise have the capacity to serve 1:1.
In addition to the passive income strategies mentioned above, other free and low price offerings that may help build your audience include:
- Private groups on Facebook or other platforms
- Online workshops and masterminds
- Membership programs
How Life Coaches Earn A Living
Want to reach your coaching business income goals? Consider how you can support clients in multiple ways! What follows are common approaches you might take to turn your coaching services into multiple revenue streams.
Increase your impact by bringing a group of people together who are seeking a similar outcome. An effective means for delivering life coaching content on a larger scale, while also building a community of mutual support and accountability.
Want some help getting started? Tune in on our podcast episode How To Do Group Coaching. In it, Lumia co-founder John Kim offers tips and insights from his experiences launching and facilitating group programs.
Podcasts & Public Speaking
With a dash of charisma and a message to share, your voice can be a core component of your practice. Podcasts are an effective way to deliver content, grow an audience, and enhance your creativity.
Want to start your own podcast, but not sure where to begin? Lumia alumni Jill Vanden Heuvel breaks it down in the blog Create a Podcast in 5 Easy Steps.
Expand your impact with a platform that offers practical tools, guidance, and resources for your ideal client. Members might subscribe monthly or annually to gain access to your unique training, materials, and content.
Workshops & Retreats
Use your expertise to facilitate memorable experiences. From international health and wellness retreats to financial planning workshops, there are many ways to profitably connect in-person with your ideal clients.
Sound appealing? Listen to our podcast Understanding the Business of Retreats to learn more about how it's done.
If it worked for The Angry Therapist (aka Lumia Coaching’s co-founder John Kim), it might just work for you too! Harness your writing skills to serve your coaching practice. From blog posts to books, there’s always an appetite out there for fresh and meaningful content.
Remember: there are many pathways to becoming a published author. You don’t need to hit the NYT bestseller list to gain traction.
If you’re a Lumia alumni, we’ve got you! Take your first step by submitting a guest blog proposal for consideration on our platform here. We’re committed to helping our alumni gain real world experience and wider exposure for your work.
Who says you have to go it alone? A winning strategy for some life coaches is to develop a strong network of industry colleagues with whom you can partner.
What might this look like?
- Serve as a coach in someone else’s program.
- Lead one session at a retreat.
- Accept referrals and overflow from a busy colleague who isn’t currently accepting new clients.
- Appear as a guest on someone else’s podcast.
- Do Instagram Lives with another practitioner.
You get the idea!
Need more reasons to prioritize building your professional connections? Read all about it in our blog 6 Ways A Strong Network Can Help Your Business Grow.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Most life coaches don't do everything we’ve listed above. Instead, they focus on doing a few of those things exceptionally well. The key to success at this stage of the game is to not overcomplicate it.
Narrow your focus (and ditch the overwhelm) by starting with just one! Begin by asking yourself:
- What combination of activities am I most excited about building my coaching business around?
- What are some creative ways I could turn my coaching services into product offerings?
- What additional research may be necessary to understand my ideal client's specific needs?
- If I were to pick just ONE of the revenue generation ideas from this article to try out over the next 6 months, what would it be?
Not sure if running a solo practice is right for you?
If the idea of launching an entrepreneurial venture makes your blood run cold, fear not! There are so many other ways to use your life coach training and expertise beyond going into business for yourself.
For more ideas on how to carve out your unique path, including a list of “Who’s Hiring”, check out our blog Careers in Life Coaching: Exploring Options & Opportunities.
Want to Become A Coach?
One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our 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 some partners 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.