|The typical person in today’s 9 to 5 world is always tired and a little unorganized. They come home from a busy day at the office and find a dozen more errands and chores waiting for them. A busy week leaves them feeling fried and ready for a margarita.
It’s a sad fact. For far too many, their life doesn’t feel balanced. They feel like they run around all day, working their tail off, and are left with little to show for it.
Hey, we’ve all been there at some point.
Billions of working adults around the globe struggle with this basic balance of work and home. Many have yet to find harmony. In fact, according to CBS News, 1 million people skip work every day due to workplace stress.
Think of the loss of productivity that results in for businesses large and small, not to mention the long-term mental and physical harm that has on the workers. Stress is a killer, contributing to heart disease and digestive problems like nothing else. And on the emotional side, it can lead to anxiety and depression.
Okay, enough of that. I’m not here to get you down. I’m just setting the stage for a relatively new business opportunity.
You see, a stressful work and home life is nothing new. People have been struggling with it for decades. But only in the last couple of years have people decided that they don’t have to suffer through it. In short, they’re not going to take it anymore, to paraphrase Twister Sister.
But they realize they can’t change their life by themselves. They need help from an impartial outsider who can recognize problem areas and make effective recommendations to improve their work-life balance.
And that’s where you come in.
As a lifestyle consultant (some prefer the term “life coach”), you’ll help people overcome the trials and tribulations of modern life by getting organized, reducing stress, and finding harmony in everything they do – or as close as they can get.
Hold on, you might be saying, I’m just as stressed out as everyone else. Fair enough.
But listen, as long you don’t wake up with a stomach ache every morning and see nothing but dark clouds on your drive to work, you may very well have all the tools needed to become a lifestyle consultant. And you’ll learn the rest along the way. (A nice side benefit is that you’ll reduce any stress or issues you do have as you learn your coaching skills.)
Just to be safe, here’s a quick questionnaire to see if you qualify as a lifestyle coach.
If you answered in the affirmative to any of these items, you may well qualify as a lifestyle coach. If not, you have some work to do first. But keep reading as you’ll probably learn some great life skills.
The Way of the Modern Lifestyle Coach
Now, I’m not going to spout a bunch of feel-good New Age tropes at you or recommend a few Buddhist meditation books. That’s not going to help you help your clients. Striking a balance in our lives is much more involved than that. And, in a way, it is much simpler than that.
A lifestyle coach recognizes that the working world is a hectic place. Stress is inevitable. Nothing is going to change that fact. But what a lifestyle coach does is try to help their clients find coping strategies to juggle work and family, exercise and diet, and rest and activity.
Your job is to talk with your clients, identify those areas of their lives that are giving them trouble, and teach coping skills. You don’t have to be a certified counselor or an occupational hypnotherapist to help people. You just have to be organized and positive and give people empowering strategies that will teach them to let go, to work hard for work’s sake, and to pay less attention to petty office politics.
It’s easier than it sounds. Much of the advice you’ll give is commonsense that your clients just can’t recognize because they’re in the situation. Point out the “obvious” solution and you’ll be their hero.
In fact, you probably have developed a few coping strategies over the years and you just don’t know it.
When you have a big presentation at work, how do you prepare for it? Do you study your note cards until they’re memorized? Do you drink two cups of coffee that morning instead of one to keep your energy high? Do you make sure your lucky pen is in your pocket?
Identify what works for you and suggest similar things to your clients. But to be a really great lifestyle coach, there is one attribute that is golden: listen, listen, listen.
The Power of Listening
As a lifestyle consultant, your job is to listen to others and find things that work for them. You have to be open and flexible. Your client is your best resource. Besides the tried and true actions proven to reduce stress (exercise, good diet, etc.) you should be on the look-out for that something special that speaks to your client’s inner voice.
Maybe your client can only recharge his or her batteries by a weekend camping in the woods. If so, make sure you emphasize the importance to your client that if there are any big changes coming up at work, they’d better get to the woods instead of sitting at home over the weekend worrying. Worrying leads to stress and stress leads to poor work performance. That doesn’t do anyone any good.
So listen. Suggest what works for you. Ask questions.
If they’re music-lovers, maybe a little Beethoven before the big meeting will put them in that “zone” of confidence. And be practical. Tell you clients that there are limits to what one can do. Tell your clients that duties at home are important, but so are work duties. And preach cleanliness and organization. There’s nothing that calms me more than having a clean home and organized work station. Find out what works and go forth.
A great way to get your feet wet in the life coaching business is to start with friends, family, co-workers past and present, and acquaintances. Build up your experience and your bank of success stories. Anybody can benefit from a life coach: athletes, executives, managers, 9 to 5 workers, blue collar workers, students, stay at home moms… the sky really is the limit.
Next, use your personal network to find new clients beyond people you know personally.
After that it’s a snowball rolling down a hill as your successful clients recommend you to others and those folks recommend you to even more people.
You should also have a comprehensive website detailing your services and areas of expertise. By adding articles, blog entries, or videos on life coaching topics your site will rise in the search engine rankings until people searching for a life coach will find you near the top of the results. It’s also important to include as many testimonials and stories from happy clients on your website as possible. This provides proof your services work.
Start a weekly email newsletter in which you pass on life and career tips and advice for free but always offer the opportunity for personalized coaching for a fee.
This will go a long way to positioning you as an expert in your field. So will writing a book on life coaching, even if it’s self-published and available as a free ebook on your website. It’s all about marketing yourself.
Social media, like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are huge these days. You need a presence on these and other social networks to attract new clients and keep prospects engaged. Offering to answer questions for free is a great way to attract a following.
Being active on forums and chat rooms dedicated to organization and other topics related to life coaching is also a great way to attract prospective clients.
The key in anything you do is to be visible and let people know your services are available.
By the way, you’re not limited at all to clients within driving distance. You can meet with your clients over the phone, on Skype, through instant messaging, email… whatever they prefer. It gives you a huge potential customer base – the whole world.
And remember, if you’d like you can always specialize. Weight loss methods, stress management, home organization, business ownership… all are great niches for life coaches.
And as far as fees go… when you’re starting out, charge $50 to $75 an hour. Once you gain experience, ramp up what you charge accordingly. Advanced coaches charge up to $400 an hour.
The way to bring in a steady income is to build a “stable” of clients, say 15 to 20, who you work with on a weekly basis. That’s a nice chunk of change for a few hours’ work each day, don’t you think?
P.S. I just gave you all the tips you need to become a successful life/work coach. But here are some supplemental resources to help you be the best life coach you can be.
Inspirational and Practical Resources