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Should I Become A Financial Coach? (And How Much Do I Make?)

So, I get a lot of questions from new financial coaches and people who are sort of “hunting and pecking” around the idea of becoming one.

I LOVE responding to these questions, because I wish I would have had someone leading me, guiding me through the thought process and helping me to figure out all the right questions to ask and pitfalls to avoid.

So in today’s video, I’m going to answer a couple of recent questions from a subscriber who is considering becoming a financial coach.

I’ll rapid fire his questions and then we’ll unpack them and I’ll try to give you some insights that will help you navigate this “should I become a financial coach” question.

  1. What's the demand for financial coaches once established (as in how hard is it to find clients)? 
  2. How much can you earn once established? Not looking to get rich but wondered what to expect.

Real quick, thanks for liking or disliking, subscribing and leaving a comment, or two or three sharing what you had for breakfast and what you plan on doing with one or two of these ideas.

 

Quick Context

So, to give you some more context around the perspective Eric has as he writes in, let me read you his brief note as a pretext.  

“Eric S” writes:

“I appreciate all the YouTube videos you do. I have been researching financial coach information and ran across your channel.

My wife and I went through FPU and are currently debt free minus the mortgage. I have been considering a new career for a while now. I have a passion for serving others and I have always enjoyed working with finances, investments, etc. So I put all that together and becoming a financial coach came to mind. 

I googled financial coaches in my area, which is in  Alabama, and came up with nothing. So I figure there is a need for it. My plan was to start for free at church, work, and people I know and give it a shot. 

If I feel like it's something I can manage and truly enjoy I would like to go through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Coach training. It may turn out to be a side hustle or a complete career change at some point. I have a couple of questions if you don't mind. 

Thanks for your time. 

Eric”

 

First of all, thanks for reaching out, Eric and I’ll do my best to give you some insights into your questions, particularly as it pertains to starting and growing a more “localized” financial coaching practice.

 

First Question

What's the demand for financial coaches once established (as in how hard is it to find clients)? 

I'm not sure that there is a "demand", per se. I think the “demand” is something you have to sort of go out and create if that makes any sense. Let me explain.

In my experience, both the general public AND other professionals you might be trying to network with locally to send you referrals, like: financial advisors, insurance agents, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, don’t really understand what we do inherently.

So there’s a lot of explanation and education you’ll have to do around WHAT kinds of results you get your students and HOW you go about getting them those results. So in my experience, that education process can be very slow and very frustrating.

And I also found that, while these types of professionals have plenty of people that need your help that they COULD be sending your way (i.e. maybe the people who are actually too broke to afford their services and need a financial coach), they’re really too busy finding warm bodies to do

I started ZeroDebtCoach as a more local coaching practice and honestly, it was an immensely frustrating experience. Sad but true and it’s a reality you need to be aware of if you’re going to do more of a local coaching practice.

There's a steep learning curve in educating the public about what a financial coach does, because we as coaches address, confront and correct the behavioral side of personal finance. That’s just a foreign concept to our society to begin with.

And because of this observation, that's a lot of what my platform is about, coaching toward behavioral change.. 

For my first couple of years out of FCMT, I really tried hard to build and grow more of a local, “kneecap to kneecap” coaching practice. Honestly, I got so frustrated trying to educate my network and build a local practice, that I almost quit.

That’s when I really pivoted to marketing my business online and building more of a platform that would allow me to serve my audience on a more global scale (as opposed to being confined to my local pool of students). 

From my now more of an online perspective, the demand is really the presence you establish by putting out super high quality free content for people to consume and hopefully get results from. This will slowly begin to establish your credibility.

What I found better is to become a content creator, which is actually how you found me. It’s a longer process to generate traffic and leads, but MUCH more effective in getting your message out there in an “evergreen” fashion (in my personal experience).

 

Second Question 

How much can you earn once established? Not looking to get rich but wondered what I should expect.

That's a very difficult question to answer honestly because there SO many factors that determine your earnings. So please don’t take my answer as me trying to be evasive.

I’ve been able to turn this platform into a very lucrative and full time operation, but it’s taken 3 years (started as a part-time side hustle) and TONS of trial and error.

Can it be profitable? Yes. Can it be a total money pit? Also, yes.

It just depends on your mindset going into it and how quickly you can pivot as you begin to learn your market and adjust to their needs and willingness to engage.

For me, I began my coaching practice by charging $150-$175/hr for coaching sessions.

 

Learning What Not To Do

Being inexperienced, I unwittingly set the expectation with my students that I could solve all of their problems in an hour and it took months of frustrating and rushed coaching sessions for me to slow down enough to realized that 

1) Rome wasn’t built in a day and I CERTAINLY wasn’t going to cure my students of their bad financial habits in a 60 minute session. No, for most of them, it was going to require a lengthy series of sessions that formed a logical cadence that would help them both break bad habits and develop new ones.

2) Not everyone is coachable and there are TONS of people that want something for nothing. It’s hard to help them and THAT’S part of the reason for my free content. I can always point the freeloaders to that and say, “you’re welcome”. 

 It's a sad but true reality that many of the people that need our help and guidance the most are often the least willing (and sometimes able) to pay for it.

There is a whole series of videos I could do explaining my experience in developing the coaching cadences I now use to get my students results.

Let me know if that’s something you would be interested in and I can start putting those together.

All that said, there are TONS of factors in pricing and building up to profitability, but it realistically will take you at least a couple of years to be "profitable". 

 

Where To Start

Particularly because profitability may take some time to reach, I would definitely caution you against spending a ton of money on expensive courses like FCMT (even though I did and in hindsight realized that I didn't need to) and instead just encourage you to start solving peoples’ problems. 

Start with friends, family, your church… anyone who will listen. Just start helping people organize their finances, get on a budget, track expenses, consume lots of coaching content and maybe take a self-study online course and you’ll become a solid coach on your own, very quickly.

Not to sidestep the pricing question but, it’s going to take some time to figure that out. My pricing for 1:1 coaching is now considerably higher than it was when I first started out because:

  1. Like I said, I learned quickly that I needed to move to coaching cadences or series rather than trying to solve my students’ problems in one sitting.
  2. As you get deeper into your practice as a coach, you’ll get better at identifying who is “coachable” and who isn’t. The people who truly believe in your ability to help them AND are coachable are always willing to pay for it.

All that to say that, my normal coaching cadence with new students is a weekly 50 minute session and I have a minimum of 4 months as a baseline commitment.

Why 4 months? Because that’s how long it takes for people to change and replace their behaviors to any degree of effectiveness, in my experience.

So, I hope that helps give you a little more insight as to how you can expect to start generating revenue as a new coach. Again, the numbers will vary, you just need to start somewhere, set the expectations of what kind of results you’ll be getting your students (and in what period of time).

 

Focusing On Results

As an example, as a direct result of 1:1 coaching with me my new students are conservatively able to:

  1. Save AT least $1-$2k in the first 30 days (very conservatively). Although many students are able to do WAY more than that.
  2. Save, pay off debt or invest another $5k-$6k in the first 90 days.
  3. Have a crystal clear success path of exactly what to do, for both when we’re in the coaching cadence AND for even more importantly, for when our cadence is complete. This plan will be customized for their particular goals (i.e. debt-elimination, investing, pursuing FI, etc.).

So, you can see there’s a lot of thought and practice that goes into the process, so hopefully this is helpful for you.

It’s been interesting to me and quite a happy accident that I actually have a bunch of new financial coaches in my private financial coaching community that went through FCMT and now they're ACTUALLY learning the realities of becoming a successful financial coach.

My private financial coaching community is only open a couple times during the year, but if you’re interested in joining us click the link below to get on the waitlist.

 

 

Also, below are some links to my other relevant videos that may address some of your questions about the true "realities" of financial coaching vis-a-vis the "dream" that the 'gurus' are selling. Caveat emptor is all I can say.

Why I no longer follow DR: https://youtu.be/BlFNawI-H2E

New Financial Coach: https://youtu.be/j2gXaAJaAKs

Realities Of Financial Coaching: https://youtu.be/PaEIlIXrTbo

 

4 ways ZeroDebtCoach help you

 

1. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the notifications bell to make sure you get our new videos every week. 

 

2. Download one of our free personal finance guides. You’ll learn some of the exact strategies I teach my private coaching students on how to organize and optimize their finances, obliterate debt and move on to financial independence by starting and growing online businesses.

 

3. If you’re looking for a community of motivated and like-minded people, go ahead and get on the waitlist to join our private financial coaching community. We only open it for new students a couple of times a year, so make sure to get on the waitlist.

 

 

4. If you need some help right now because you’ve got a burning issue, you need a problem solved, you want to talk through a complex situation, click on the button below.

 

 

All that said, let's keep on building your financial acumen and make this your best year yet!

Thanks so much for reading and we’ll see you in the next video post!

 

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