It might sound obvious, but money is a big business. Considering two-thirds of Americans wouldn’t be able to find $1000 for an emergency, it’s understandable that coaching people in money is a growing business.
If you’ve found yourself giving friendly advice on money management or have gotten yourself out of a fix, you might do well in a career as a financial coach.
This guide explains exactly what we mean by financial coaching, and how to start a financial coaching business.
What is a Financial Coach?
A financial coach is someone who educates others on how to deal with their money. This usually involves discussing a client’s goals and personal finances and dealing with “general” money problems.
The main difference between a financial coach and a financial advisor is that the latter must be certified by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. This involves them attending university and getting a degree.
To put it another way, a financial coach is like a personal trainer for your money rather than, say, a sport’s scientist.
Financial coaches don’t need the same kind of official training for the role; so don’t worry about getting a degree in a related field. The main things you need are a passion for finance, good money management, and ideally good business knowledge.
That said, be prepared to put in some work. If you’ve ever set up a business before, you’ll know that the early stages are the hardest. One benefit is that financial coaching is a relatively new industry, meaning it’s not yet saturated.
What can a Financial Coach do?
As mentioned, a financial coach helps people with general money management. This will involve things like budgeting, working out a plan to become debt free, and how to save money.
A financial coach can’t deal with regulated financial issues, such as stocks and bonds, and generally won’t deal with more complex issues, such as retirement plans.
Another example to understand this difference is that of a counselor and a therapist. A therapist will usually be certified to deal with mental health issues (perhaps referred by a doctor), whereas a counselor is essentially a listening ear.
This isn’t to say financial coaches (and counselors) don’t have their place. Their services are ideal for people who need advice on how to deal with financial problems that might not have been explained to them in the past.
How to Start a Financial Coaching Business
While starting a financial coaching business can be as easy as simply getting paid to give advice, starting a successful business requires planning.
Here are some tips on how to start (and maintain) a successful financial coaching business.
1. Decide why you want to do it
This is the most important starting point for any business venture. Decide why you want to start a business to help you map out the next steps. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who do you want to help?
- Why do you want to help them?
- How have your personal experiences led you to this point?
- Why do you feel your financial advice is worth following?
As part of figuring out your why, you should be prepared to tell people your story. It’ll help them understand how you can help. Your story could be something like:
- You’re a single parent who’s had money problems
- You’re a small business owner who’s struggled to stay afloat
- You’ve had a medical problem that you weren’t prepared for
Spend time planning this stage because it’ll impact everything moving forward.
2. Learn from others
While you don’t need a degree in finance, you’ll need some official industry knowledge. There are plenty of online accredited courses to choose from that’ll teach you everything from proper practice to good client-coach relationships.
You don’t need accreditation in the same way as a financial advisor, but look to join organizations of financial coaches. Something like the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education is a good example.
Remember, the more training you can get, the better.
3. Create your business
Before getting your name out there, you’ll need a business. Start with your business name, which should be snappy. It should also give people a clear idea of what you do.
Don’t make it “fun” or “creative”; you’ll attract more clients with a professional and clear business name.
Next, build your website. While it won’t see many hits at this point, it’ll eventually be your main hub for connecting with potential clients.
Consider starting a blog and setting up pages on social media (particularly Facebook and LinkedIn).
Don’t worry about office space at this point. Something like financial coaching can easily be done online, which will save you plenty of money. In the future, if things go well, a physical office will add a sense of professionalism.
4. Get marketing
Finally, you’ll need to start connecting with clients. Begin by talking to friends and family because word of mouth is good for these early stages. Once you’ve got some reviews under your belt, it should be easier to get more clients.
Also, be sure to network with likeminded individuals. Build relationships with people in financial services. While they might not become your clients, being friendly with them greatly increases the chances of them referring people to you.
Don’t overlook asking your clients for referrals either. If they’ve benefitted from your services, chances are someone else in their life will too.
The beginning stages of setting up any business are hard work, so be prepared for this. One major advantage of financial coaching is that everyone has to deal with money, and not many people are great at it. This means, realistically, you have a very large potential pool of clients just waiting for your advice!
Hopefully this guide has given you a better idea of how to start a financial coaching business. Luckily, the actual process isn’t difficult, but landing your first clients can be.
Be prepared to put in the work, and as long as your advice is sound, people will start coming your way.
Read also: How to start online business without money