Coaching Certification vs Business License and Setting Up a Coaching Business
With the rise of at-home and online business, many people are wondering if they need a business license to run an at-home or online coaching, training or consulting business. Does that sound familiar? Are you in that boat? If so, here is what you need to know!
What is the Difference Between a Certification and a Business License?
Since our start, the Spencer Institute and NESTA team have received (and continue to receive) countless inquiries from past students and new students who are unclear about the difference between a certification and a business license. A business license allows you to operate a business within a city, county, or state.
As much as a certificate isn’t compulsory, it is quite necessary to acquire one because it gives you an edge over other professional coaches, trainers, and consultants and also makes you feel like your expertise and profession is really legitimate.
An education and certification from an institution like the Spencer Institute shows that you have a certain level of competency and knowledge and have passed an exam to demonstrate just that. Certifications are awarded by an independent body, often trade or industry associations, and usually involve passing a test or examination process.
Because certifications are independently verified, employers, customers, and clients often use them as a check on whether an applicant has the specific skills or competencies needed. In particular, employers use certifications when the skills involved are technical and don’t align with traditional degrees.
Does a Coach or Consultant Need a Business License?
The market for coaching, training, and consulting is large and includes people of all ages, backgrounds, and goals. Coaches provide guidance, teach organizational skills, and create order in the lives of their clients. Some coaches, like a Sports Psychology Coach or Youth Performance Coach, also work in the sports field, helping clients become more proficient in their chosen sport.
Yes, a stand-alone office space can be nice, but many coaching or consulting businesses can be run from a coffee shop, home, or hotel as long as the coach has a phone, computer, and client list. While coaching is a flexible business, if it’s based in a city that requires business owners to obtain a license, the private coach must comply.
Register your business as a limited liability company (LLC) or other official entity beyond sole proprietor. This will protect your personal assets from your business assets if you happened to get sued. Obtain a business license and other business-related requirements, such as zoning approval if you see clients in your home.
Business-related licenses and permits are issued at all levels of government. We have put together a list of the following is a discussion of some of the most common types of licensing and permit requirements that could affect a coaching, training, or consulting businesses. This list is by no means exhaustive, and it is important to check with government agencies at all regulatory levels to ensure that your business has obtained all necessary licenses and permits:
There are many types of licenses. You need one to operate legally almost everywhere. If the business is located within an incorporated city’s limits, a license must be obtained from the city; if outside the city limits, then from the county. For more information contact the county or city office in your area.
Property Use Permits
If you start a business that involves manufacturing, or if you decide to begin operating a business out of your home, depending on your location you may need to obtain a land-use permit from your city or county’s zoning department.
If you are constructing a new building, or expanding or renovating an existing building in order to operate your business, you will most likely need to obtain a building permit from your city or county. The process may require that you submit a detailed set of plans to the department prior to the approval of the work and issuance of the permit.
Certificate of Occupancy
If you are planning on occupying a new or used building for a new business, you may have to apply for a Certificate of Occupancy from a city or county zoning department.
Health Department Permits
These permits are most often required for businesses involved in the preparation and/or sale of food, among other types of businesses. For example, if you have received your Personal Fitness Chef certification and plan on providing meal preparation services for clients, you may need to look into obtaining a health department permit.
Licenses Based on Type of Product Sold
Some state licensing requirements are based on the type of product the business sells. For example, most states require special licenses before a business may sell liquor, lottery tickets, gasoline or firearms.
Employer Identification Number
Most business are required to obtain a federal employer identification number (or EIN; sometimes called a tax identification number) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Your business may also need to acquire a similar tax identification number from your state’s department of revenue or taxation.
Running a coaching business is a lot like trying to improve yourself. You need a detailed plan to give yourself the best chance of success. A company without a business plan is like a client without a routine or program. Need help with your business plan for your coaching or consulting business?
Moving Your Coaching or Consulting Business Online
The barriers to entering the coaching and consulting markets are relatively low. Anybody can develop a website, take, edit and upload photos to any number of social media platforms, and share their expertise on social media.
You can customize your coaching career by moving it online. Yes, of course, you can still work with clients in-person if you like. You can do both. It’s up to you. The benefits of offering online coaching are extensive!
1. You will save time by eliminating your commute.
2. You save money because you won’t be splitting commissions with anyone.
3. You can make your own hours.
4. The world’s online population can now be your clients.
5. You can work at a coffee house, the beach, a co-work space, or at
the kitchen table.
6. You can offer whatever type of coaching, training, or consulting you want.
If you’ve been thinking about going online, or if you tried before and just lacked the needed skills, this is the time to get everything you need to become highly successful. The Online Coaching Certification is your step-by-step blueprint to build a highly profitable online coaching business.
Between NESTA and the Spencer Institute, we have well over 25 courses, certifications, and business systems to help you build a totally customized career and business. You have the choice to add and combine the programs in any way which serves you and your clients best.
Our team is here to help you thrive during this crisis and provide our members with constant support during this unprecedented time. As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the coaching industry.