CREATED: 07.03.2024UPDATED: 09.03.2024

How to Become a Financial Coach

How to Become a Financial Coach

Do you want to become a financial coach? BlurBay shares this guide with you so you can start your financial coach business online.

Though it may be for disappointing reasons, there has likely never been a better time to start a financial coaching business.

report from CNBC says that about 70% of Americans feel “financially stressed,” with over half saying that they don’t even have money saved in an emergency fund. While that’s distressing news, it also shows a clear need that many have for people who can show them how to better handle their finances.

That’s where you come in.

As a budding financial coach, you have the skills necessary to relieve the financial pressure that many face in their personal and business lives. According to research from Citigroup, financial coaches can help clients create and retain positive savings accounts, with 54% of clients managing to save money after enrolling in a financial coaching program. Even if the number might not seem all that promising—after all, it’s slightly better than guessing on a coin toss—the Journal of Financial Theory posits that financial coaching improves confidence, budgeting, and goal formation.

Your financial coaching courses can, therefore, do more than just help save people some money. With an adequate curriculum and attention to detail, your teachings could have a profound psychological impact that resonates deeply with your audience.

Best of all, you don’t have to meet your clients face-to-face to get these results, either. With the pandemic enabling and spearheading remote work, many customers who weren’t accustomed to online-only classes have started to take interest in such programs. Being a financial coach can be an excellent decision from both a personal financial and a marketing standpoint.

By tapping into the global audience, you can use your skills and experience to help anyone with an active internet connection. And you don’t even have to do that in real time. By recording videos and publishing them on a pay-per-view platform like BlurBay, you can create content that provides a stream of passive income and further improves your credibility.

But before you can do that, you need to follow these 10 steps to start your financial coaching business.

Step 1 – Figure Out Your “Why”

The idea of having a “why” has been popular in coaching for years now. And it’s a simple concept – figure out why you want to help people because that reasoning plays a major role in drawing those people toward you.

In other words, what’s your story? Your motivation for becoming a coach and helping the people in your niche? For instance, you may have grown up experiencing financial difficulties and don’t want anybody to go through what you experienced. Or, you may have been one of those lucky few who had it all, only to lose it and be forced into a position where you had to rebuild your financial empire. Now, you’re looking to use your experiences to help others avoid the mistakes that you made.

There are many potential reasons why you want to become a financial coach.

What’s important is that you figure out yours. Not only will your “why” be the driving motivator as you build your business, but it’ll also be a connecting thread. Customers who connect with your reason for doing this will like you and trust you more because they can see you have their best interests in mind.

Your “why” will be deeply connected to the overall business plan of your future coaching business. Without a strong mission statement (the technical term for “the why”), your small business can blend in with thousands of content creators providing similar services.

By creating a relatable mission statement, you bring yourself closer to your audience and develop a more meaningful connection. Your clients can trust you more, which is pivotal in long-term brand engagement.

Step 2 – Identify (And Focus on) a Specific Problem

Once you have your “why,” it’s much easier to move on to figure out what problem your coaching needs to solve. In many cases, the problem you solved for yourself is the answer. You have first-hand experience dealing with that problem, creating instant credibility, so the information you share has value to anybody else who’s dealing with the same problem.

Ultimately, this step is about finding your niche.

If you try to be all things to all people in a financial sense, you come off as inauthentic. For instance, if you’re niche is helping people consolidate debt and handle mortgages, your audience will find it strange if you suddenly start offering advice on how to invest in the stock market. That’s not your strength and it’s not their problem. Suddenly, there’s a disconnect between your content and your audience.

There are several different types of financial coaching courses you can implement, depending on what problems your potential clients have:

  • Debt management – Debt management coaching helps your clients develop and enact plans to reduce or eliminate their debts, whether they are from considerable purchases or investments (cars, houses, student loans), or from day-to-day purchases. However, this type of coaching also provides proactive advice on creating a mindset and business plan that avoids future debt.
  • Budgeting – This is perhaps among the most common types of coaching for young adults. With the cost of living increasing steadily and an unfettered inflation rate, many people might struggle to pay their bills and create a meaningful living experience for themselves and their loved ones. Budget planning and coaching helps clients track expenses, teaches them how to prioritize spending, and helps them develop basic savings.
  • Financial education – According to information released by the U.S. Treasury, many adults lack a basic understanding of financial concepts such as savings, mortgages, interest fees, and inflation rates. This creates a feedback loop where small errors in fiscal management can develop into lifelong issues. Financial education will help clients develop a solid foundation on money-related topics and prepare them for more advanced management techniques.
  • Investing – Investment coaching sessions can help clients develop more effective investment strategies. It’s particularly useful for adults who do not come from a background of wealth and who want to become a part of the elite.
  • Wealth management – Unlike investment coaching, wealth management targets people who are already wealthy and need significant help in managing their assets to ensure they pass on to the next generation. It’s a particularly lucrative area due to high potential returns but requires significant effort and expertise.
  • Business fiscal management – These courses can help young entrepreneurs manage their business or get them on the right track of opening one. With more than 400,000 business applications per month in the U.S. alone, it’s an ever-expanding audience to tap into. And, given that 20% of businesses fail within the first year—many due to inconsistent cash flow management—your skills can be crucial.
  • Retirement planning – Retirement coaches help older individuals manage their financials as they exit the workforce. With the growing percentage of the elderly across the world, it can be an interesting area to branch into and explore.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to only one particular financial management branch but try to work your planned audience into the plan first. For example, it can be pretty difficult to find an audience overlap between debt management and retirement planning. It can create an interesting dynamic that makes your courses more relevant to a particular niche, but it also might mean your services don’t scratch the itch for most people who’d benefit from them.

Find the sweet spot between what your audience needs and what you do well – that’s the backbone of your financial coaching business.

Get a Financial Coaching Certification

Step 3 – Get a Financial Coaching Certification

Unlike the term “financial advisor,” financial coaches don’t have strict legal and ethical requirements, and there are no national certifications or qualification exams to become one. That means the field is pretty much open to anyone to start practicing, albeit with mixed results. If you’re new to coaching, you will need to stand out from other financial coaches and make yourself more intriguing.

Certifications create credibility.

You need your client to see that you have some level of proven financial expertise before they’ll part with their money and work with you. After all, working with a coach is a financial investment in itself. If you can’t demonstrate that you’re a good investment, you won’t ever get the opportunity to help the people who really need you.

Now, there are many routes you can go down when it comes to certification.

Some budding coaches may already have most of what they need. For instance, somebody who has a degree in economics or who is a licensed CPA already has a ton of “technical” financial knowledge from which to draw. Those people are credible. They may just need some help with the speaking and course structuring elements of their coaching businesses.

Even degrees that might be considered unrelated can also create a suitable background to become a financial coach. For example, a psychology or business administration background can offer unique insights into human behavior regarding money management. This allows you to create a distinct brand that focuses on a particular niche within the broad categories above and leverages unconventional tools to provide clients with unique services.

In these cases, becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) can be an excellent stepping stone from a non-economics degree to starting a financial coaching business. It will provide a detailed knowledge of all subjects necessary to teach financial planning to others.

Others may not have the formal educational qualifications, such as a degree, and need to start from scratch. In those cases, look for courses from organizations like the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) or the Financial Coach Academy (FCA). You can also look for organizations that are certified by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA), such as the AFCPE (Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education).

They offer the oversight needed to demonstrate your credibility to your audience, in addition to being able to teach you what it takes to create a successful financial coaching business.

Step 4 – Find an Appropriate Platform to Host Your Financial Coaching Courses

With certification secured and your “why” guiding you toward a niche, you move on to answer a crucial question:

How will you provide your financial coaching content to your clients?

The answer depends on the type of coaching you provide. For instance, those offering one-to-one coaching often don’t need a dedicated platform for their materials. They work on an ad-hoc basis, tailoring their knowledge to specific clients rather than providing information in the form of videos and written course materials. For them, platform choice comes down to finding an appropriate venue for marketing – such as Facebook or LinkedIn – and perhaps building a website to enhance their credibility.

Other coaches take a more wide-reaching approach through videos to speak to more general subjects, perhaps with a view of moving select customers into courses or one-to-one coaching. Those coaches need places to host their videos.

Social media and YouTube can be solutions here, though they offer limited mechanisms for monetizing your coaching content. You could also build your own website, but that comes with complications of its own – site setup, payment processing, and the sheer work that goes into maintaining a website.

An alternative option is relying on somebody else’s platform to get your content out there. For example, BlurBay allows coaches to upload videos with no coding experience required. You can place those videos behind paywalls, meaning your clients only get access if they pay for it, and the platform charges a minimal 5% commission for every sale you make. Better yet, you don’t have to worry about building or maintaining a website – it’s all done for you.

Take your time when figuring out which platform works best for you. Your choice affects both the success of your financial coaching business and the ease with which your clients can access your materials.

Step 5 – Start Forming Relationships

With your platform secured, it’s time to build the network that will become your primary source of leads, at least during the formative months of your financial coaching business.

The best way to do that – share your “why.”

In other words, start telling people about why you created your coaching business, with a specific focus on who you intend to help. Social media is a good venue for these conversations. Seek out groups related to your “why” and start sharing information. For example, a financial coach dedicated to helping single parents manage their budgets could join groups related to single parenthood on Facebook to start some conversations.

You can also get involved with people in the real world.

Talk to your friends and family. They may not need your help directly, but they may be able to point you toward people who do. The idea is to build as large a network as possible because each person to whom you connect can then connect you to more people who may need what you’re offering.

Your goal with all of this work is simple – land your first customer.

– Start Forming Relationships

That customer lends instant credibility to your financial coaching business because they show that what you offer is attractive enough to encourage somebody else to pay for it. Better yet, that first customer later becomes a source of referrals and can provide social proof (testimonials and case studies) you can use to attract more clients.

Step 6 – Build Your Internal Systems and Processes

So far, you’ve done a lot of formational work in the sense of getting your coaching on an appropriate platform and building the network that will be the heartbeat of your ongoing marketing.

Next up – looking inward.

Specifically, you need to build some systems and processes that help you organize your clients’ financial situations so you can provide more in-depth advice. This is specifically the case for anybody who provides one-to-one coaching (i.e., most financial coaches) because you’re going to be let into one of the most intimate areas of the client’s life. If that sounds hyperbolic, it isn’t – 51% of people are ashamed to talk about their financial challenges.

Part of your work revolves around helping your clients overcome that initial shame, thus creating the openness that empowers them to confront their issues head-on. Your systems and processes aid that aspect of your work by providing a plan your client will follow to achieve their goals.

Start with a software package that makes it easy for both you and your client to access a complete financial picture. Tools like MoneyGuidePro and Xero can compile data related to bank balances, bills, credit, and investments in one place, giving you and your client detailed financial overviews.

With that data in hand, your next step is to build clear plans for your clients to follow. These will often be tailored to the individual – somebody who’s struggling to pay their bills doesn’t need the same advice as someone seeking their next investment opportunity, for instance. But what’s key is that you show your client that you have systems in place to both determine their current financial position and to track the ongoing state of that position as they implement more of your coaching.

If you’re taking a more informal route and designing financial coaching courses that users will watch and learn from, you may need to put additional effort into ensuring your advice can be followed easily. Use interactive content in your videos and mention relevant, real-life-related examples that users can connect with.

In some cases, you can get inspiration for your topics directly from your audience. You can turn your social media accounts into both sharing and polling platforms, allowing users to ask questions that, in turn, become the centerpieces of your future content. It will double down on your content’s relevance to your audience and allow you to help your clients more and strengthen your long-term relationship with them.

Finally, you will also need to get acquainted with modern trends in SEO (search engine optimization). Without proper SEO techniques, even the most beneficial and highest-production videos you make can fall through the cracks and remain unseen by the masses. By leveraging the trendiest keywords and organic SEO methods, you can ensure that your content becomes—and perhaps more importantly, stays—relevant to future audiences.

Step 7 – Create Your Toolset

Create Your Toolset

In truth, you’re already partway toward developing your toolset if you’ve followed the rest of the steps in this article. You have a platform for hosting videos (or even a website for your course content) and you’re using some form of financial management software to help your clients.

Now, you just need to add to it with the following tools:

  • Payment Processing – PayPal and Strip work well here because they give your customers some added protections, thus increasing their confidence in you. Note that you may not need a payment processing solution if the platform you’re using already has one baked in.
  • Scheduling Software – This comes into play when you start holding one-to-one sessions, though you can also use scheduling software to keep track of your live videos, Q&As, and webinars. Calendly and Google’s calendar software both do solid jobs here.
  • Video Conferencing Software – With 40% of people preferring remote meetings, being able to offer the option to talk to you over Skype or Zoom opens your financial coaching services up to a wider audience.

These tech tools don’t cost a ton of money – making them accessible to brand-new coaches – and they’ll help both with your internal processes and by giving your business a professional sheen.

Additionally, you should consider utilizing data analytics to strengthen your marketing efforts. Even if you know how to become a money coach, it won’t make much difference if no one sees your content.

Use viewer analytics tools on the platforms you use for publishing to determine what financial coaching courses are performing the best. You can also use the information to figure out the demographic of your audience and how it aligns with your business plan. Armed with that data, you can create more relevant and interactive content that further entrenches your audience into your reputation and content, providing you with more long-term income.

Step 8 – Handle the “I Don’t Have the Money” Argument

At some point, you’re going to come across an objection from a prospective client – “I don’t have any money, so why should I pay you out of what little I have?”

There’s a definite logic there. If somebody is already struggling to make ends meet, paying for coaching – no matter how useful the information is – means another expense. However, that objection doesn’t mean that the person isn’t suitable for your coaching. In fact, they’re likely your ideal client, as long as you can overcome the objection.

The question is how?

We’ve found that framing your offer as an investment into the client’s financial future is the best approach. Yes, they’re paying you with money they may not have right now. But what they stand to gain – strategies and a community (and coach) that keeps them accountable – pays off in the long run.

Emphasize that the client will save thousands of dollars with your help, putting the much smaller amount that you charge into a different perspective.

Step 9 – Create a Company and a Monetization Plan

You’re almost ready to offer your financial coaching services.

You just need to ensure it’s all legal, which means forming a business entity that’s recognized by your state. Typically, new coaches will either form a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company (LLC). The former is far easier to set up (there is less paperwork to deal with) but it doesn’t offer the liability protection that comes with the latter structure.

Regardless of which you pick, you need to create your business entity to legally transact as a financial coach. Other legalities include applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Technically, you only need this number if you intend to hire people to work in your business. But you’ll find that most major banks ask for one when setting up business bank accounts, so it’s worth applying early, especially given that it’s free to do so.

After that, you’ll need to figure out how to structure your coaching sessions and monetize them. If your business plan revolves around one-on-one sessions, then a session-based system naturally fits into that. However, you might struggle to create long-term results if your business doesn’t onboard new clients quickly enough.

That’s where creating video content can help. By sharing informative and interactive videos that detail a certain topic, you can create courses that stretch over days or weeks of your client’s time. Then, you can either charge for your content on a pay-per-view basis or use a subscription fee. This allows you to develop passive income and prevents you from stretching too thin by trying to wrangle face-to-face meetings (even if they are virtual).

If you develop your social media presence enough, you can combine the two methods. For example, you can use social media snippets to make your audience interested in your offer. Then, you can distribute pay-per-view video content to create a lead. Finally, you segue the clients into a subscription-based plan that allows more interaction and helps you create a personalized coaching plan for them.

Step 10 – Start Sharing Good Results

Ongoing marketing is the key to the growth of your financial coaching business. When it comes to any form of online coaching, there’s nothing more powerful as a marketing tool than social proof – evidence that what you’ve done has helped other people.

About three-quarters of people who are considering buying from any company will check reviews before they do. They’re looking for word-of-mouth, and if they can’t get it from people they know, they’ll trust people who’ve used the service to tell them whether it’s any good.

That’s where case studies and testimonials come in.

Take the results your most successful clients have achieved and turn them into stories. The journey is the most important part of these stories – where did the client start and where did they end up? If your clients permit it, you can even film videos and have them write their own reviews of your coaching. The key here is that the story comes out of the client’s mouth – your prospects will trust it a lot more. With that trust comes a desire to investigate your services and, potentially, become a client.

After all, if you’ve helped somebody in a similar situation, surely you can help them, too.

Spread Your Financial Wisdom

Spread Your Financial Wisdom

As a financial coach, you deliver the tools that your clients need to get their own monetary houses in order. The specifics are down to you – what is your “why” and how does that inform the type of coaching you offer?

Once you know that, you can move on to the important aspects of building a business. Handle the legalities, starting with business structure, and start developing materials that you can host on a relevant platform, such as BlurBay. When you feel ready, start building your network while supporting everything that you do with internal processes that create confidence in your abilities among your clients. And before you know it, you’ve become a financial coach and are running a successful online business.

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