My current office in Oaxaca City. Travel work station with laptop.
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What are the realities of being in business as a life coach?

Are you a life coach or thinking about becoming one?

Recently, I responded to a post by a coach in a Facebook group of women business owners asking about the realities of being in business as a life coach. Here is my response(with some edits and additions):

I appreciate this question. The truth is that 82% of coaches don’t make it past two years (International Coaching Federation). That’s the reality.

So that means that only 18% of coaches who start a business make it past two years.

I’m guessing it’s a very, very, very small percentage of coaches that make six figures plus.

A certified Martha Beck Certified life coach since 2003, I have seen the industry evolve and change so much over these decades. I’ve been behind the scenes from a lot of perspectives including with many colleagues and clients who are coaches.

I have had a few different kinds of businesses, sometimes in addition to my life coaching business. My coaching business has seen many iterations with various niches including personal, relationship, career transition, organizing, & business.

I have filed for bankruptcy as a result of going into debt for my business, and I have made a living with my business alone for the last 10 years and on & off for the 10 years before that.

I’m currently not focused on quadrupling my income or a certain income goal. I’ve spent plenty of time doing that. I’ve already reached higher income goals than I could have reached professionally as an instructor in academia.

Although there’s a lot of “shoulding” to play full out on social media, the last thing I want to do right now is chase constantly changing algorithms in social media marketing. I played that game full out in 2022 and found it dissatisfying and unrewarding.

I am committed to a more organic vibe in my business that supports results for my clients, balance, simplicity, and freedom.

Not hustle. I only work with clients whose purpose is aligned with my values and who are a good fit for my business. I also prefer to have a lot of flex time and free time.

Currently, my heart’s desire is to spend months in winter in Latin America. I spent February ’23 in Mexico and am currently on a 3-month trip in Mexico. I’m networking with both local and expat entrepreneurs. The photo below is from Carnaval in Oaxaca City, Mexico, in February 2024.

life coach and business coach, Jen Aly, at Carnaval 2024, Oaxaca City, Mexico

I am putting a lot of energy into speaking Spanish better, which I’m geeking out on.  I run a monthly Spanish conversation table in Asheville, and this past fall I began volunteering weekly for a non-profit to tutor Latino youth, where I not only immerse myself in Spanish for 2+ hours per week, I also get to make a difference with skills from my first career as a teacher and be a part of a beautiful community.

These are not things I would let myself do if I was in complete practical ambition mode. They aren’t typical strategies to help me make money or grow my business. They are just for me…like travel. And giving them to myself gives me a strong sense of meaning and prosperity that I haven’t felt in a while.

In some ways, I believe my drive or ambition to grow my business put me in my head more than I’d like and distracted me from listening to my heart fully. In the past few years, I’ve slowed down a lot, dealt with health challenges resulting from burnout, sold a profitable jewelry business I had for 9 years, and committed to a simpler lifestyle.

Sometimes I think I “should” have the goal to create a huge business.

But I’ve been close enough to know that it’s not all celebrations and first-class tickets. Some of the choices included with this kind of growth may include working over 40 hours per week, constantly creating and juggling 50 social posts per week and constant DM’s, hiring and managing many team members, working with clients who aren’t aligned, and so much overhead that it exceeds their net income by 6 times. I’m not interested in all of that.

Some people are genuinely committed to the positive impact their business will make, and I completely celebrate them. And sometimes people go for the six and seven figures and beyond because that is how the mainstream defines “success.” But if you don’t understand and realize your true values and you’re just doing it because of all the hype, this misalignment can lead to burnout or worse, which can bring everything to a halt.


My current office in Oaxaca City. Travel work station with laptop.

Before you put all your focus energy on someone else’s definition of success, make sure you know your primary values, why you want what you want, and that doing all that it takes to make it happen is aligned for you, and then commit to it.

If you’re a coach, you know that you have to know where you want to go to get there. And you are in the process of becoming the next version of yourself as you move toward your vision. It’s not only about taking external action, it’s about unlearning what doesn’t serve you, letting go of what’s not yours, and transforming your life into the next level.

If you’re looking for support to do that, apply for a consultation with me.

Best of luck in creating your heart’s vision.

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