Running a business is challenging, and starting one from scratch is even more so.
Entrepreneurs convert ideas into marketable products or services, never taking their finger off the project’s pulse. As exciting as this work is, it’s also draining and full of ups and downs that can demotivate an entrepreneur and ask themselves if the project is truly worth fulfilling.
But entrepreneurs see beyond the odds –– 96% of people who take this leap say they wouldn’t return to regular 9–5 jobs. Entrepreneurs’ optimism and drive are admirable, and those who seek the support of a coach may find themselves even more motivated and less shaken by the less-than-favorable statistics.
If you’ve beaten the odds and think you could help others do the same, consider starting an entrepreneurship coaching career and setting others up for success.
What is entrepreneurship coaching?
Entrepreneurship coaching is a support service where a professional coach guides aspiring business owners to discover their strengths, areas of opportunities, motivations, and goals.
These coaches help clients identify action items to build a viable business. The coach holds the client responsible for fulfilling these tasks and assessing setbacks honestly. With an emphasis on accountability and realistic goal-setting, an entrepreneurial coach is part cheerleader, part grounding force.
Entrepreneurship coaches foster success by:
- Ensuring a client ticks off action items on time
- Helping a client identify and navigate obstacles
- Sharing educational materials on starting a business
- Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals
- Encouraging clients to be honest about insecurities
- Boosting a client’s confidence without inflating victories or ignoring roadblocks
- Celebrating milestones
Entrepreneurship coaching versus mentoring
If you’ve ever received business advice from a mentor figure (such as a college professor or an especially wise family member), you know what mentorship is. A mentor’s job is to offer friendly advice and encouragement. It doesn’t involve constructive criticism, accountability, and an elaborate action item chart.
On the other hand, coaching is a strategic, consistent, and iterative process where professionals set goals with clients, hold them accountable for action items, and push them to stay the course when the going gets tough.
Entrepreneurial coaches, in particular, are experts at coaxing budding business owners out of their comfort zones. After all, starting a business is always uncomfortable, and setbacks are inevitable, even amid success.
Entrepreneurship coaching versus business coaching
Entrepreneurship and business coaching also aren’t the same. Coaching for small businesses or established organizations entails helping owners, managers, and other leaders improve performance. Business coaches could work with entrepreneurs, but they’d generally focus on optimizing specific aspects of an established business, like marketing or sales results, not necessarily starting a business from the ground up.
On the other hand, coaches for entrepreneurs help clients navigate the unique challenges of launching a business. The coach may continue to accompany the client on their entrepreneurial journey if this person expands or migrates their business, launching new ideas.
The entrepreneurial coaching process
As mentioned earlier, entrepreneurial coaches help people break big ideas into actionable pieces. First, the coach and client identify business goals, such as focusing on one strong product development idea, growing revenue by a certain percentage, or launching a service. Since these are big goals, entrepreneurs work toward them in an organized way. So the coach helps the entrepreneur define action items, like making a product prototype or designing a services webpage. The coaching session is a safe place to project worst-case scenarios like a prototype failure, poor marketing traction, or draining capital and plot potential solutions.
Coaches also help entrepreneurs identify obstacles, including internal ones like imposter syndrome. They recognize milestones that hold the entrepreneur accountable and keep them on track. For example, if the goal is to increase revenue by 20% in a year, a milestone could be five percent bumps per quarter. Metrics like this aid in tracking progress, making it easy to see if the plan deviates from the path.
5 benefits of entrepreneurship coaching
Entrepreneurs’ lives revolve around pursuing a dream, and even before seeking a coach, they chart the actions to make it come true. So why work with a coach? Couldn’t an entrepreneur ostensibly recognize and mitigate obstacles or set smart goals on their own? They can, but a coach possesses the experience and expertise to help the business owner succeed.
Here’s why inviting a coach into the process benefits an entrepreneur, no matter how prepared the individual may be:
- Coaches have lessons to share: Many coaches gain experience in another industry before entering this career, and an entrepreneurial coach may have led a successful business. The coach's success and failure stories fare valuable insights.
- Coaches cheerlead: Entrepreneurs may be proficient at goal-setting and strategizing and may go far on their own. But it feels better to celebrate wins in good company and count on a coach’s support when navigating a rough patch — especially if the coach has been in the entrepreneur’s shoes and can empathize.
- Coaches push go-getters to achieve even more: A coach may see an opportunity for a driven entrepreneur to maximize their potential. Perhaps the coach observes that the entrepreneur sets too conservative goals or underestimates their potential for success.
- Coaches help the already successful stay the course: Long-time entrepreneurs who have everything they’ve always wanted, like a business that earns well and provides an incredible quality of life, may stagnate. The entrepreneur may no longer find meaning in their work or sense they’ve lost the “spark” that led them to start their project. A coach can help already successful entrepreneurs expand their business or take on a passion project, like supporting an organization that’s important to them.
- Coaches help newbies develop leadership skills: Once on an entrepreneurial journey, people have to balance tasks simultaneously, including people management. And not everyone has the innate skills to lead a team. Coaches help clients develop soft skills –– such as emotional intelligence, decision-making, and problem-solving –– to help them cohesively work and manage team members.
Ready to get started as an entrepreneurial coach?
If you think you’d be excellent at helping others reach their dreams, dive in. There’s an entrepreneur out there ready to receive your support. Good candidates for a role in this coaching niche have experience as an entrepreneur, business leader, or coach and feel comfortable pushing, motivating, and guiding others. A heavy dose of empathy goes a long way, too.
There aren’t many entrepreneur coaching programs, so aspiring coaches must chart their paths. Consider studying to become a business coach and earning a college-level degree in a field related to entrepreneurship, like marketing or economics.
Then, take your first client. Once you have a solid client base, you’ll need a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to store lead data, have new clients sign your coaching contract, and send motivating messages to the entrepreneurs you help between sessions.
Practice’s Client Management Software, designed with coaches and entrepreneurs in mind, answers all your questions. This tool allows you to manage client data, receive payments, and book appointments –– all in one place. Try Practice today.