Is Remote Life Coaching a good business idea?

I was recently asked whether building a remote business as a Life Coach was a feasible idea. Here’s my response.

As you can see, I was fairly negative on the concept.

As a somewhat successful Business Coach myself, with a range of remote clients, I’ve met and worked with a variety of different ‘life coaches’ (both as a client, and as a general ‘helping other people’ thing). So I’ll answer in two parts: can you coach people remotely? and is life coaching a good business to operate?

Can you coach people remotely?

Sure. It’s a bit different to coaching them in person – much harder to hold the energy, when you ask a tough question for example, though that comes with practice. Since my best clients see me for a half day or more every month, and for group work with the leadership team, face to face works best – all my remote clients are one-on-one via Skype/Zoom. This impacts the business model as well – 1 client for $3,000-$5,000/month is a lot easier to manage than 10 clients at $500 each.

My experience (in my twelfth year of being ‘a business coach’) is that pure coaching is a waste of money and doesn’t work, at least in a business context. Pure coaching is all about asking questions – and since most people don’t know what they don’t know, no matter how well you ask the right question they’ll never have the answer.

So my approach is a combination of coaching and consulting (providing solutions, or at least ideas), plus rolling my sleeves up to help implement when warranted. Again, some of that is easier in person, although also doing some follow-up implementation in the background (more consulting) may be easier remotely.

Is life coaching a good business to operate

Not really. Life coaching is really counselling / psychology etc, without the training and qualifications – anyone can call themselves a life coach, and as a result most are crap and the industry has the reputation it has. (Business coaching has a similar issue, which impacts my business.)

This poor reputation and flood of providers impacts the value and price a life coach can charge. I pay my coach (who is also amazing commercially, so it’s as much business coaching as life coaching) $600 an hour, and her base package is 2 hours/month for a 12 month commitment. Most life coaches I meet … don’t charge that much. I’ve helped a few (over a breakfast conversation or two) get to $150/hour, and half that is more common.

And this is even before all the general business stuff comes into play – how will you find leads? convert them into clients? retain them? profit? $150/hr sounds great, but if your package is 2 hours per client per month and most clients only last 3 months, then to earn $60,000 per year you need to sell 5-6 new clients EVERY month.

My belief – if you’re able to sell 6 clients every month, you have the ability to earn more than $60,000 per annum by selling something more valuable.

There are alternative business models (memberships and events or group coaching, for example), but these either take longer to build or are less remote-friendly.

For some life coaches, it’s a labor of love as much as anything, and/or one extra service they offer on top of yoga teaching, celebrancy, or as a side hustle. There are amazing life coaches out there, especially those who invest in their business and ongoing training and development – sometimes the best way to see if you’re talking to a good coach is to ask who their coach is; if they can’t answer, they’re not practicing what they preach, run away.

Happy to answer any other questions that raises!

PS: The featured image for this post is my beautiful wife working (with me) as a business coach in Fiji. It wasn’t remote coaching in the sense that we actually had to go all the way to Fiji to do the work … but as you can see, that wasn’t much of a burden!

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