As a Coach, Have You Put Yourself First?

You may recognize Simon Sinek from his presentations. Especially the one about the golden circle and the “Why?” And he is the author of the classic “Start With Why”. Here’s a favorite quote from him:

quote on blue background

Have you put yourself first? It’s so sad when we hear some coaches say that they may need to get a J.O.B. It sounds like these coaches may not have seen professional coaching as a “real job”. Could this oversight be why coaches who think this way haven’t been able to make their living as a coach?

I agree that it’s time for reality checks for coaches. My sense is that coaches have underestimated what it takes to be a successful solo coach. Part of this stems from the state of our educational systems.

College and most advanced training still teach us to be employees, and that’s 1 of the reasons you may struggle to make a living as a self-employed coach. The 2nd reason is that your heart centered bias may not be interested in the “business” as being responsible for charging enough to pay yourselves a salary, plus business expenses and taxes. Your coaching fees are NOT your salary. A 3rd reason is we go directly to marketing, before we do the basics. Coaches many times put this proverbial cart before the horse.

When you see your coaching as a real job, you’ll start with these basics:

  1. Decide what you need to pay yourself as a salary.
  2. Figure your business cost.
  3. Don’t forget to add your taxes.
  4. Add your profit to your number so far.
  5. Do the simple math to see what your hourly fees need to be. Use this number for courses and programs too.
  6. Double check your niche and coaching offerings to be sure you’re offering enough value. Revise as necessary.

Generally, 40% of your income from coaching will go to expenses and taxes. Only the remaining 60% will be available as your salary. (Depending on the country you live in.)

Then, after you do the basics, you can start to market successfully. If you use this process, the threat of having to get a J.O.B. will be much less. That’s because you’ve taken action by realizing that you are also your own employer and responsible for yourself and other things you weren’t as an employee. You have a job! Right now it’s to find and implement the missing pieces so you can go out and help people.

At Business Skills for Coaches we also include how the way you spend your time affects your fees. Plus, you’ll learn the Value Based method for fee setting in addition to the Cost Plus method mentioned above. Like many things in life, your new responsibility is much easier to master with the right tools, information and the right business coach. ;-)

Remember what Simon said: “Putting yourself first is not selfish. Quite the opposite. You must put your happiness and health first before you can be of help to anyone else.”


  1. George,
    I do agree with you. I didn’t exclude ability to demonstrate expertise in a specific niche that is needed and wanted by persons (and niches )with the ability to pay. At Business Skills for Coaches we show good coaches how to be a self-employed solo professional. That’s not something they learn in most coach training. If they are lucky there may be something about marketing, but nothing about building the basic foundation to make a living as a solo professional.

  2. George, You are a good example of a coach who has chosen a niche that realizes their need for your services and has a willingness and ability to pay. Some coach training tells coaches that they can coach anyone with the skills they teach. That may be true. What these trainers don’t tell coaches is that they can not successfully market to everyone.
    Like the vast majority of college training, coaches are actually trained to be an employee. That is to coach someone.

    While Coach trainers are not responsible for teaching coaching students the ins and outs of being self employed as a solo coach, I do think they bear some responsibility for making their students aware of these needs if students want to be able to coach people.

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