We all long for freedom and flexible work patterns, often dreaming on being our own boss doing something we love, but very few of us have the luxury of this type of lifestyle.
Self-employment takes guts, determination, courage, inspiration, motivation, self-belief and hardship. Yet despite the challenges, according to the GEM Global report of Women and Entrepreneurship in 2012, global data shows more women are moving in entrepreneurship each year, with more than 126 million women entrepreneurs starting or running new businesses in 67 economies in 2012. With rising childcare costs and limited flexible working options, it's not surprising there's a significant growth of mothers setting up a side hustle to bring in an income AND have the flexibility to raise their children.
So you want to be self-employed, but where do you start?
First you have to think of a product or service, have the skills and experience required to charge for said service, have the funds to invest to start the business, and it certainly helps if you're passionate about the idea (because entrepreneurship isn't easy and being passionate about your business will get you through the tough times).
I chose coaching because I'd spent a decade in the corporate world of recruitment, working one-on-one with candidates mentoring them in their careers. Once I became a mother I didn't want to work in the city full-time (and part-time wasn't an option) so I leveraged my life and corporate experience to support other mothers transition from the corporate world into motherhood and then support them as they return to the workforce.
Coaching is not only a lucrative industry, but with no overheads it's low cost to set up, it's location independent as most coaching is conducted via Skype or the phone and it allows women to live their dream lifestyle of flexible hours, having a fulfilling role and a potentially great income (once you know what to do!).
How do you know if becoming a coach is an option for you?
Do you have life, career or business experience that would help others in a similar situation? As a coach and having worked with a number of business coaches there is a single common factor that all coaches have. And that is "a story," some life history that has made the coach who they are, some form of adversity or challenging situation that has forced them to open their eyes to different ways of thinking and being, to look internally and grow. Often it is these situations that become the catalyst of their coaching business and the foundation of who they help.
Most coaches have already taken on the role of "coach" amongst family and friends before officially "becoming a coach." You may find that you are the go-to person when friends are faced with a life-changing situation and need someone who'll listen but will also give honest, no-fluff advice? Do you intuitively know how to help people, you can see their problems and pain but also the solution? Do you have a passion for supporting people who are struggling and feel empathy towards their situation?
- Have you been on a personal development journey, where you've pushed yourself to learn new skills and people see you now as "having it all"?
- Are you self-motivated, a high-achiever, likely with a successful career and someone who people admire for your accomplishments?
- Do you have a desire to make a difference and leave a legacy?
- Do you yearn to create enough flexibility to travel, have fun, be fulfilled and spend time with friends and family?
These questions are leading a growing number of people, and in particular women, to become coaches in a niche that resonates with their own, personal life journey.
For a more detailed resource to establish if coaching is the right business for you and how to become a coach, I'd recommend you read "How to Become A Coach"
What's the next step to becoming a coach?
Once you've made the decision that you want to become a coach you will need to learn how to run a coaching practice and master the craft of coaching so you feel credible offering - and charging - for your services.
A highly affordable starting point is Evercoach, a cutting-edge digital learning platform where you have online access to world-leading coaches and game-changing experts from the coaching industry. Through your personal online hub there's a library of training modules, downloads, workbooks, video courses and teachings to learn how to start a coaching business, how to find clients, how to grow your business and help you achieve your goals. If you're looking for somewhere to start or are wanting to grow your coaching business further, Evercoach have a 5-part video training series "Abundant Coach" available to download for free here.
Currently you don't need to be qualified to coach others, however if you want a formal qualification there are courses available offering training and certification accredited by the two primary organizations: The International Coaching Federation (ICF), the industry's leading governing body that offers 3 levels of training and accreditation, and The International Association of Coaching (IAC), that offers a more simple route. These courses require large investments of time and money, so make sure coaching is what you want to do before jumping straight in.
One final note before you jump, running your own business is not the easy option, you have to be prepared to fail more often than you succeed in the early days, you have to be prepared to learn new skills and ask for help when you need it. It is more cost-effective to invest now in the right training and support to get to your end result faster than stumble along wasting time and money not getting anywhere (I have been there!). Remember, the best coaches have coaches and are always learning and developing their skills through continuous training to remain effective in this booming industry. If you want to coach, practice what you preach.
Despite all of the challenges, the steep learning curves and initial hardships, being an entrepreneur is worth it to have the freedom and flexibility of a location-independent and financially rewarding business. Good luck!
Rebecca is a transformational coach and healer, supporting women become the best version of themselves. More details at www.rebeccagrainger.com