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Your Day Job Killing Your Coaching Dreams! 3 ways to transition from 9-5 to full time coach

Do you take baby steps or dive into the deep end?

Becoming a full-time coach is an exceptionally fulfilling goal to aspire to. You get to set your own hours, work for yourself, and partner with others in reaching their full potential. You may have taken the first steps in getting an education or you have already graduated as a Certified Life Coach. Now all you have to do is transition. That easy right? Right???


Leaving your 9-5 job for life coaching is decidedly NOT like transitioning into a new job in the corporate world. Typically a person moving to a new job would have already been accepted for the position, given a 2-week notice, and then seamlessly transitioned into their new role at a new company. Sure there may be bumps along the way, your income is affected for a week or so, or maybe you have to move, but the overall process is pretty painless. Contrast that with life coaching. You are essentially becoming an entrepreneur and you are newly self-employed. The freedom is as terrific as it is terrifying; awesome as it is awful. So how do you successfully transition from your day job into life coaching? This week on CLCI Live, Lisa Finck (A.C.C.), Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.P.C.), Anthony Lopez (M.C.P.C)., and Jerome LeDuff Jr (M.C.P.C), talked with alumni Sheila Kimani about how we as coaches make the big leap.

Level 1: Live to Work and Work to Live

Life Coach working until evening, overlooking a city
Life coaching can be done anywhere. Just make sure you have good wifi

The fact is, most Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. And no, that doesn't mean you are bad at managing money or live an excessive life. When looking at the cost of living, inflation, housing prices, it is not an option for most people to miss a paycheck at 2-3 weeks minimum, let alone for the amount of time it takes to launch a business off the ground.

So life coaching cannot be #1 priority. That's okay. But what can we do with number #2 priority? Assuming you work 9-5 and get a full 8 hours of sleep, what can be done with the remaining 8 hours? Can you take the time to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals (SMART) with the 8 hours/day and days off afforded to you? You are not sprinting towards life coaching, this is a marathon that requires stamina and intent. While it's not flashy or dramatic, this strategy may have the highest success rate as you are still maintaining your previous lifestyle but progressively meeting goals that you set for yourself.

The major blocks you will encounter here is procrastination and a fear of stagnation. Yet, by laying out a strategy from the beginning and making sure to dedicate your free time to this endeavor, you may find that you are transitioning quicker than you anticipate. Remember: Slow and steady wins the race.

Level 2: Part-Time Coach

Coach who is working from home
Best part of Zoom sessions is the client doesn't need to know you are in pajamas.

Part-time coaches split their time between work and coaching. Here you understand that you are trading money for time but what you do with that time can really pay off.

If you have a partner to help pay the bills, savings in the bank, or low living expenses then this could be the perfect strategy for you. Essentially you either reduce the days you are currently working or find a new job that allows you to work part time while you move towards your life coaching goal. With this method you use all the same goal setting methods in strategy 1 but you also treat coaching and building your business as a day job. Better yet, if you decide to find part-time employment elsewhere, consider getting a job that will boost your skill set as a coach. The skills necessary in sales, marketing, and writing gigs all play major factors in the journey of a life coach. To get the most out of being a part-time coach you will need a solid idea of what your budget is and what your projected timeline is into full-time coaching. From their you can make a gradual transition, for example:

Kelly is the owner of a nail salon and wants to slowly transition into full-time life coaching within a year. With some planning (and the assistance of a business coach), Kelly intends on taking 1 day off at the salon. Gradually, as they acquire more coaching clients, Kelly will transfer days at the salon to days being a part-time, and eventually a full-time life coach. In the meantime, Kelly knows they can start marketing to current salon clients to more easily reach their goals.

What part-time coaching can do is give a sense of structure to transitioning and create a sense of urgency necessary to get people motivated. On the topic of urgency, let's look at level 3...

Level 3: I Quit!

It's all or nothing. You leave your job immediately and are resolved to make this work. This is what we call in the biz a "psycho move". (Not really, just the author's personal opinion).

By taking this route you make it so there are no other options and being a life coach is the only option. It is an understatement to say that this is an extremely risky (or irresponsible) business move but it can and has been done.

First, consider how much you have saved and what you really need to spend to survive. We know being a life coach is exciting but take a deep breath, sit down, and figure out what your minimum living expenses are and how long you can get by with that amount.

Second, do you have a safety net? No, not declaring bankruptcy. We mean do you have a way to find employment again, a partner or family that can support you, a side gig to raise extra capital?

Third, do you have a plan? Are you noticing a trend here? A plan is completely necessary at whatever level you want to transition at. Is this plan sound and feasible? At this point you must treat life coaching and starting your business as your full-time job because otherwise you won't be able to pay your bills.

Woman putting hands to face in despair
Lisa does not like "all or nothing"

Going all out and making an immediate transition can provide an immense amount of motivation and urgency, but you do so at your own risk.

CLCI does not endorse going all out and even the mention of this on our Live made Lisa do one of these:

In short, a mixture of all three levels of coaching is how most people transition. You will need some time and adjustment to make the change happen. You will need to account for finances to make sure you survive and thrive. But at a certain point you will have to make that leap, the only question is are you jumping into the ocean or a puddle?


ACTO is Accepting Applications for Student Scholarships Now!

The Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO) is pleased to open the application for its annual (2022) Coach Training Scholarship.

As in years past, two Scholarships will be awarded – each in the amounts of $2,000 USD – to the individuals who best meet the established criteria of the Scholarship Award.

This opportunity is open to both new coaching students, as well as students currently enrolled in an Accredited Coach Training Program to complete a coach training program from one of the ACTO member participating schools.

The criteria for the ACTO Scholarship Award are narrowly focused as follows:

  1. Applicants must express a commitment to pursue a career in coaching, ultimately credentialing through a recognized professional body. The award must be accessed (but not necessarily completely used) within a one-year period and training completed within two years.

  2. Applicants must express a clear and specific intent to use their acquired coaching skills to positively impact society by working with underserved and/or historically excluded populations. (Examples of underrepresented people and communities include, but are not limited to: Black, Brown, Indigenous and other people of color, ethnic or religious minorities, lower socio-economic or caste status, LGBTQIA+ persons, youth, elderly, economically or educationally disadvantaged, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals, immigrants or migrants, etc.)

  3. Applicants must share a credible expression of financial need for this award.

Completed scholarship applications must be submitted to ACTO by April 1, 2022. Scholarship Awardees will be announced at the 2022 ACTO Conference (June 15-17, 2022).

Important Dates

January 1, 2022 – Scholarship application process open

April 1, 2022 – Completed scholarship application submission deadline

June 15-17, 2022 – Scholarship Awardees will be announced at the 2022 ACTO Conference


Thank you,

Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr, and Anthony Lopez! Special thanks to our special guest Sheila Kimani

Join us every Tuesday at 4 pm PST/7 PM EST for our CLCI Live Facebook Demos.

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Don't miss out on our 3-day life coach classes, it's an education that is beneficial for life, not just for life coaches! Want to learn more click here.


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