As a life coach, you’re in complete control of your earning potential. But to generate a good income, it takes more than improving your coaching skills or getting more coaching clients.
You’ve got to price your services correctly and find ways to scale your business.
All too often, coaches focus too much on helping others — and not enough on being profitable. Some undervalue the work they do. Others lower their rates to unrealistic levels, because they don’t want to turn away the people who need their help.
But if you can’t pay the bills and have to close your life coaching business, you won’t be able to help anyone. To improve your clients’ lives (and yours), you need to build a more profitable business.
That’s why, in this article, we’re exploring the average life coaching income, how to set your rates, and how to earn more money as a life coach.
The future looks rosy for life coaches
You don’t need to be a starving coach. The industry is more than big enough to support you. According to IBIS World, life coaching is a $1B industry with a healthy 2.2% annual growth rate.
Clearly, there’s demand for life coaches. The question we need to explore is how much money you can reasonably expect to make as a life coach.
Life coaching salaries vary: Here’s why
Universal Coach Institute reports that certified life coaches in North America earn between $27,000 and $107,000.
An ICF study with Price Waterhouse Coopers found that life coaches in North America average $61,900 annually, with a global average of $51,000.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t have a life coaching category. The closest category is educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors. And according to them, the median salary is $58,120 a year, with a low of $35,620 and a high of $97,910.
Keep in mind, this is the median life coach salary. If you can establish yourself and leverage online coaching, it’s possible to earn six-figures or more.
Bottom line, your earning capacity rides on how much you charge — which is why we encourage you to avoid underpricing your coaching services. But there are several factors that can impact how much you charge:
- The type of coaching you provide
- Your experience, reputation, education, and certifications
- The outcome of your coaching practice (how close is it to the money?)
- Where you live
- How many coaching clients you have at a time
Let’s look at each of these factors more closely.
Types of life coaching
Because life coaching focuses on helping clients achieve personal goals, it can cover a lot of ground:
- Leadership coaching
- Career coaching
- Personal improvement
- Marriage and family
- Weight loss and fitness
- Personal branding
- Recovery from injury or addiction
As you might guess, some types of coaching pay better than others.
While the average life coach pay according to Payscale is $32.38 per hour, lots of coaches are able to charge exponentially more.
Executive coaches, for example, can charge $100 to $300 per hour for two sessions per month. That’s three to nine times the average.
Corporate coaches can also charge more. This type of coaching is aimed at businesses that provide training for their employees. Rates range from $1,000 to $10,000 a month or $500 per hour.
And some types of coaching — such as weight loss and fitness or career coaching — can boost people’s self-confidence and performance to the point that they’re able to pursue bigger opportunities and increase their income in the future.
The point is this: If you can help people live a better life, you can charge more for your services.
The more experience you’ve got, the more people will trust you to deliver results for them. And the more they trust you, the more they’re willing to pay.
In her 2013 guide, Julia Steward, founder of the School of Coaching Mastery, reported that a new life coach can charge $100-200 an hour, while established coaches can charge up to $600 an hour.
The truth is, you can charge as much as the market will bear. That’s economics. As a new life coach, you may charge $100 an hour. But as soon as your time becomes limited, it’s worth more. That’s when you can begin raising your prices.
Keep in mind, though, that experience can be proven in a variety of ways:
- The number of years you’ve been a life coach
- The number of people you’ve helped
- Your own life experience overcoming your own challenges
If you’re relatively new to life coaching, you may not be able to cite numbers. But you can definitely leverage your stories dealing with your own life situations.
The outcome you deliver
Typically, you can charge more for coaching that helps people earn more money or improve their status.
So think about the transformation you promise. Can you tie it to a better job, higher income, or a better standard of living? If so, you may be able to charge more for your life coaching.
Where you live
Different geo-locations have different standards of living. That can dramatically impact the amount of money people can pay for coaching.
Fortunately, when you do online coaching, location is less of an issue. If you can prove that you offer a significant transformation, location doesn’t matter.
How many coaching clients you have at a time
According to JRNI.co, active coaches serve 11.7 clients at a time and have 12 hours of direct client contact each week. Of course, that doesn’t include prep time, study, providing other services, and time you spend running your business.
That’s why we don’t advise adding more hours of coaching to raise your income. If your schedule is too busy, you won’t have time to prepare for your coaching sessions. You won’t have time for study and learning. And that’s going to impact your ability to help your coaching clients.
If you work with people one-on-one, it’s a good idea to limit yourself to 10 to 12 clients at a time.
To help more people, offer group coaching. It’s actually a win:win for you and your clients. Group coaching generally costs less, making your services more affordable to more people. And for you, it means you can support dozens of clients at a time, without encroaching on the time you need to run your business.
How to calculate your fee for life coaching services
Because so many factors impact your rates, there’s no set price you should charge for your life coaching. Instead, we’ll use a 4-step process that begins with what you want to earn each year from coaching.
How much money do you want to make as a life coach?
To calculate your rates, you need to start with the net income you’d like to make each year. Too often, coaches base their rates on the average life coach salary that they find online. Or on what a competitor is charging.
But it’s important to consider your overhead and other needs when setting your prices.
The truth is, running a business costs money. You need to account for your overhead, including the software you use to run your business, your ongoing education, and taxes. Otherwise, you may find yourself operating in the red.
So let’s do some math.
We’ll start by assuming 12 coaching sessions a week. Let’s also assume you want to take four weeks off during the year and that you pay $3,000 a year to run your business.
- Your desired net income: $100,000
- Annual expenses: $3,000
- Income taxes (at 24%): $24,000
- Billable hours for the year: 576
Here’s how to calculate your hourly rate:
Net annual income + expenses + taxes / billable hours = hourly rate
$100,000 + $3,000 + $24,000 / 576 hrs = $220 per hour
Now, let’s use that $220 rate to set your prices.
Create a coaching package
Think about the transformation or outcome you promise your clients. How many sessions should it take to give them the support they need to achieve a full transformation?
Let’s say it takes 10 sessions to get good results. At $220 an hour, a 10-hour coaching package should be priced at $2,200.
Create other ways to buy
You aren’t limited to offering large packages or coaching programs. You can also offer individual sessions or bundles of sessions.
So, for instance, you could sell individual sessions at $220 an hour and monthly packages of four sessions for $880.
This is a great way to let people try your coaching without committing to an expensive program. And it lets people come to you on an as-needed basis, if that’s what they prefer.
Don’t undersell yourself
If your coaching truly impacts your clients lives, it’s valuable. $220 an hour may not actually reflect the value you offer. While it may be a good starting point, don’t be afraid to raise your rates as you gain experience and become better known.
What can life coaches do to increase their earnings?
There are three levers for boosting your life coaching salary:
- Higher rates
- More clients
- Additional income streams
Raise your rates
As we’ve discussed, you can easily charge more if people value what you have to offer. They’ll pay whatever you ask if you’re recognized as an expert or they’re anxious to get help.
That’s why it’s so important to position yourself as the elite option or even the only option. Here are a few ways to do that.
Find a niche - No one is an expert in everything. Niche down as far as possible to position yourself as the best option in your space.
Get a celebrity client - You don’t need a movie star on your client list, but if you can snag a client who’s well known to your audience, you’ll gain instant credibility. One celebrity client can take your life coaching practice to the next level.
Get more testimonials - Make it a practice to ask your clients for a testimonial — a video testimonial, if possible — describing the transformation you’ve given them. Then share those testimonials generously on your website, on landing pages, and in social media.
Increase the number of people you’ve helped - Numbers are powerful in marketing. They’re specific and measurable. If you’ve got 9,784 subscribers, that’s impressive. Leverage that in your marketing. If you’ve helped 11 people hit a difficult goal, such as getting a 6-figure job, that’s impressive. Leverage it.
Note: Don’t round your numbers. A specific number is far more believable.
Get more clients
To get more clients, you need to optimize your marketing and sales. Luckily, with Kajabi, the tools you need are built into your coaching platform.
So for instance, you can easily start a podcast or newsletter to build your audience and credibility. That gives you a platform to talk about what you do and share valuable tips, so people understand why they need your coaching.
Be aware, a percentage of your clients will always want more from you. So give them ways to buy additional training and coaching sessions. An easy way to do that is to add an upsell to your pipeline. Or use email marketing to promote your coaching services and products.
Don’t worry if you seem to be spending more time on marketing than on coaching. That’s normal. JRNI found that coaches typically spend 40% of their time on marketing vs 20% of their time on billable coaching sessions.
The truth is, unless you prioritize marketing, you’ll struggle to hit your income goals. So set aside time on a regular basis to focus on building your business: strategizing, marketing, and taking care of the backend.
Create additional income streams
A strategic way to increase your earnings is to expand beyond one-to-one coaching. It doesn’t take a lot of extra work to create additional streams of income, both active and passive.
Active income streams
An active income stream is a product or service that requires you to be present and active. As a result, you’ll need to be careful not to overbook your time.
A good way to do that is to offer group coaching. Create cohort groups that work through your coaching at the same time, so you can help more people in the same amount of time.
Note: A rule of thumb when setting a price for group coaching is to charge 30% of your one-on-one coaching rates.
Membership groups are another way to add value to your coaching. Here’s an idea: Once clients have completed your coaching program, offer a membership that gives them continued support and access to you.
Workshops and events can give you quick revenue boosts. Consider a two-hour workshop or a one-day event where you focus on providing in-depth training on a specific problem your clients struggle with.
Passive income streams
Passive income streams bring in extra revenue without you having to be present. You create a digital product, set up the landing page and pipeline, and let people know it’s available. Not only does this boost your coaching income, it also helps you help more people.
For example, self-paced digital courses are a good solution for people who can’t afford your coaching. Use them as a downsell in your Pipeline, or make them available on your product page.
You may also create mini-products, such as PDFs, worksheets, templates, checklists, and videos. These can be low-cost products that bring new people into your universe and provide quick answers when they don’t have time for a big coaching program.
Books and e-books are another option for passive income. A book builds your credibility as an expert. It also helps you educate your prospects about your methods and ideas, so they come to you, eager to work with you.
Final tips for making more as a life coach
Life coaching is one of the most satisfying businesses you can build. And done right, your coaching practice can help you hit whatever income goals you’ve set for yourself.
Start with the foundations. Clarify your mission, and let the world know what it is. Then do whatever it takes to give your clients success.
Do the math to figure out what you should be charging for your coaching. You need to know what your rate needs to be and how many billable hours you need to reach your income goals. Then do the marketing to keep your calendar full.
And finally, leverage your time so you can serve more people and make a bigger impact on the world.
Want more help creating a profitable life coaching business? Join us for live Q&A webinars every day, Monday through Friday. Register today to learn everything you need to know to succeed as a knowledge entrepreneur, including selling products, Kajabi themes, pipelines, webinars, and the Kajabi Partner Program.
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