Start a health coaching business by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your health coaching business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a health coaching business?
Overhead will be low to open a health coaching business. Typically, you’ll visit your client’s homes to observe their daily challenges so you can get a sense of their unique barriers to achieving their goals. You will need to budget for advertising though, which should include both online and in-person outreach to potential clients.
What are the ongoing expenses for a health coaching business?
Health coaches should prepare their budget with the following in mind:
- Website upkeep
- Cost of ongoing education
- Exercise equipment upkeep (if applicable)
- State licensing costs
Who is the target market?
Your target market is anyone who wants to live better. You are not solely looking for those who want to lose weight or exercise more, thought that's likely the primary concerns people will approach you with. A better body may be a byproduct of health coaching, but the primary market is someone who wants to make the long-term changes that will put them on a path toward a more productive life.
How does a health coaching business make money?
Health coaches charge for each session they give. When owners set their prices, they need to factor in not just the time spent with the client, but also the amount of money it costs to both get and keep the client. This includes time spent researching and drumming up business, as well as money spent for advertising.
How much can you charge customers?
Clients are willing to pay to make changes in their lives they can’t make themselves. Some health coaches charge up to $500 an hour for their services, though most start with different monthly packages. Look to see what other health and lifestyle coaches charge in your area, but beware not to dramatically undercut your numbers. This may make you look like an amateur amongst professionals.
How much profit can a health coaching business make?
Standard average salary is about $43,000 for a health coach a year, but in wealthy areas that have a lot of life-work balance problems (e.g., San Francisco, San Jose) the salary increases dramatically to about $63,000 a year.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Health coaches can make a lot of money if they expand their services to fit the needs of companies. While health coaching is primarily one-on-one, the advice can be tailored to larger groups. However, the advice will need to be industry specific and relevant to a work setting.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Health Coaching Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your health coaching business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a health coach business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Health coach businesses should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, service level expectations, and intellectual property ownership.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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How to promote & market a health coaching business
The key is to form strong relationships with clients, regardless of how you meet them. Beyond just professional conduct, you need to keep what you say in line with your own personal brand. Find out what makes your services unique, so you can market to the right people. Are you more of a friend or a drill master? Once you know what your style is and what your ideal client is, you can start finding out more about where they live (either physically or online).
When you’re starting off with no clients, the first thing you’ll want to do is create content that stays on brand. Start a YouTube channel or Facebook page that promotes what you do, and how you do it. Emphasize that the best course for change is not to consult endless websites that all say the same thing. People need personalized plans that work around their schedules. You may even want to offer a few sessions for free to companies in the area if you're just starting out.
How to keep customers coming back
The best way to get customers to come back is to be the motivation to make noticeable change in their lives. Focus on the techniques that create results, and then hone those skills with each client. Take your business seriously, and they’ll have reason to do the same.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Start A Health Coaching Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
This business is excellent for people who love to give practical advice to everyone they meet. Health coaching has everything to do with finding goals that work from an individual, so health coaches need to be emphatic listeners and excellent communicators. They should also be comfortable with authority, as clients hire coaches to take charge. Entrepreneurs should also have a strong sense of how to achieve a balance between diet, exercise, and everyday life.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a health coaching business?
Health coaches primarily work on the schedules of their clients. Their job may include the following duties:
- Initial consultations with prospective clients
- Coaching sessions with clients
- Developing personalized plans
- Scheduling and billing
- Researching new trends in nutrition and exercise
- Outreach and customers engagement
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful health coaching business?
Having a background in counseling, nutrition, and wellness will definitely come in handy. The right person doesn't necessarily need to have gone to college, but you may find it's far more difficult to get off the ground without formal education. Owners should also be excellent at demonstrating specific results their clients have achieved.
What is the growth potential for a health coaching business?
A health coach is many things all at once: a therapist, a nutritionist, a life coach, and an ally. The growth potential is high, especially given that many people need external motivation to succeed. While it will be easier to grow in a wealthier area, health coaches have plenty of opportunities to branch out by giving online sessions or by expanding their travel budget.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a health coaching business?
Successful health coaches stress that you need to devote yourself to your clients even before you have any. Owners need to learn exactly people may chose to hire a life coach, and then work towards altering their services to fit the needs of the community. A vague promise of helping someone to lead a better life isn't going to be enough to spark the kind of interest you need to thrive.
Develop very specific goals of what you want to achieve, so you (and your clients) don’t end up losing focus. For example, you may want to concentrate on work-life balance for clients, or small habit changes that clients will actually stick to.
Finally, ensure you're signing contracts with clients that specifically detail the terms of service to avoid confusion down the line.
How and when to build a team
Health coaches generally work on their own, but there are ways to delegate website work and social media postings to other people. Should you reach your own client capacity, you can consider hiring other people who have the same background (in terms of education and values) as you.